Capital Grapevine
Capital Matters

Capital Grapevine

Virendra Kapoor

Of Public intellectuals, Honourable judges and their Ingrained prejudices and other Baggage

At least in some ways judges are like public intellectuals. Both are prone to let go freely from their cushy, insulated environs on the day’s headline events uninformed about the real circumstances on the ground. Celebrated columnists preen themselves after letting off steam against the dominant establishment but judges grandstanding inflict real damage with their ill-considered oral remarks which rarely find way into the written, and, presumably, considered order.

Given that judges and media pundits are cut from the same cloth, playing to the gallery is a common failing. Given also that a judge’s past linkages are only a click away on social media, like, for instance, Judge S. Muralidharan’s with Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders, dispensers of justice cannot be too careful in treading the straight and narrow path of fairness and impartiality.

However, judges seeking cheap fame do far more damage than partisan pundits because the target audience of the latter is confined to their own peer circle. When a judge so devises that the bar fetes him, he, by implication, reveals a lack of trust in the rest of the judiciary. A mature person would treat with disdain such display of partisanship by both the judge and the bar.

Not long ago, a chief justice of the Delhi High Court, whose ambition to graduate to the apex court remained unrealized, would justify his loose remarks to the brother judges sitting on the bench with him, saying it was necessary to gain publicity. By dint of a single judgement, post-retirement he is cashing out as a much sought-after speaker on the national lecture circuit.Oral remarks by judges might grab a day’s headlines but whether these advance the cause of justice remains highly questionable.

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Dawdling over a simple order to lift blockade

Without doubt there was nothing spontaneous about the dance of death that parts of the national capital witnessed earlier in the week. Kapil Mishra, now with the BJP, might have lent himself to be an easy target, but, on cool reflection, when you consider the sheer enormity of the offence that millions in Delhi have had to put up with ever since they blocked a major artery linking south Delhi to NOIDA, the real agent provocateurs were the handlers of the Shaheen Bagh charade. Only in this country will the authorities take the path of least resistance while a group of people willfully commandeer a busy public thoroughfare, putting to trouble millions of commuters.

For two months, the police had sat on their haunches, the higher judiciary when approached to order the illegal blockade removed shied away from a simple order. If someone had the courage to say that if the latest Shaheen Bagh in Jafrabad was not cleared in the next three days he would come to the rescue of the harassed public and clear the blockade, he is pilloried endlessly by everyone.

Yes, Shaheen Bagh ought not to have been allowed in the first place. Those bent on holding a dharna should have been made to move to a designated place, but then the BJP saw electoral percentage in an indefinite blockade. Unfortunately, even when the apex court heard the petition of a concerned citizen, it shied away from dispensing justice, putting off the commonsensical order by another three weeks or so. In all probability the two-member bench dilly-dallied because one of them holds a grudge against the current regime. This is unfortunate, but then judges too are human, prone to suffer from the same prejudices and predilections ordinary mortals do.

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That one of the AAP corporators, Tahir Hussain, has been named for the IS- style barbaric cutting up of the Intelligence Bureau staffer Ankit Sharma should not surprise anyone. An independent probe would certainly implicate several AAP activists in the organization and incitement of riots earlier in the week. Why, the AAP MLA, Amanautullah Khan, from Okhla, was one of the first to harangue the faithful to rise up and `do something’ against the Modi Sarkar. The video is available on social media. Some other AAP MLAs from the Muslim-dominated areas were equally complicit in the anti-CAA protest. Plenty of evidence exists to nail Hussain, an unskilled daily wager till very recently, who was running a veritable terror factory from his premises.

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Abusing Ambedkar for anti-CAA protests

A diabolic conspiracy is afoot to rope in Dalits into the Mullah-Maulvi-orchestrated anti-CAA protests. Paying lip service to Ambedkar and the Constitution barely hides the Islamicist mindset that seeks to rend the Indian society apart. The ambitious Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar may have lent himself to this hateful project with a future electoral career in view. But he does disservice to the memory of Ambedkar, whose pictures are hung on various Shaheen Bagh sites, by making common cause with the Mullah-Maulvis who are the real leaders of Muslims. It is hard for even Muslim politicians to shake off the influence of clergy, such being the central role of mosque in Islam which, incidentally, instead of embracing modernism seems to regress daily into obscurantism and traditionalism.

Leave aside Bhim Army Chief’s opportunism, at least secularists should care to read Dalit icon’s ~ Pakistan Or The Partition Of India~. Even a cursory reading would evoke anger at the abuse of Ambedkar’s name by those who have little faith in him or his creation, the Constitution. When he renounced Hinduism, Ambedkar did not embrace Islam. No. He opted for Buddhism. His views on Islam, would shock all those who now flaunt his photos on protest sites. When Chandra Shekhar invokes Ambedkar to support the anti-CAA blockades, Ambedkar must be turning in his grave.

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RS membership plus Govt. house for Ms Gandhi ?

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is a clever politician. By floating Priyanka Gandhi’s name for Rajya Sabha, he may have killed two birds with one stone. One, pitted Digvijay Singh against Jyotiraditya Scindia, both claimants for Rajya Sabha nomination in the poll mid-March. And, two, got Priyanka Gandhi in his corner --- never mind, what Rahul’s views are on Mrs Vadra becoming an honourable MP.

But the reason why Priyanaka might accept the offer is quite different. After the withdrawal of the SPG cover, she is no longer entitled to retain the free Lodhi Estate bungalow. Her current Z-plus security cover does not fetch a free Lutyen’s house. But on becoming an MP, she might be allowed to retain the same Lodhi Estate bungalow which has been home to her for nearly three decades. Of course, Robert Vadra, and not Rahul Gandhi, will take the final call.

Meanwhile, Diggi Raja and Scindia can fight over the remaining one seat, though fairness demands it goes to Scindia since Diggi Raja’s six-year term has just ended whereas the Gwalior scion hasn’t had the need to enter Parliament through the backdoor until his defeat in the Lok Sabha poll last May.

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The facts and views expressed in the article are those of the writer.

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