The Bench to the rescue
The Bench to the rescue

The Bench to the rescue

S. Sivadas

S. Sivadas

Coming down heavily on the state Government’s handling of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s trial, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the politicians and others to rise above petty party affiliations and follow the one-nation concept. This was triggered by the Additional Solicitor-General of India, Satya Pal Jain, informing the Bench that all forces available had been deployed and that such violence had occurred in other states, ruled by other parties too.

After giving him a patient hearing, the court wondered if national integrity was above parties? ‘Are we one nation or a party nation,’ the Bench asked. Referring to a lawyer’s statement on his allegiance to the BJP, it added, ‘You should get the politicians to understand this: The nation is one. The Prime Minister is of India, and not of a party. The Chief Minister is also of the state…. You are the Additional Solicitor-General of India, and not of the BJP.’

Slamming the government for extending political patronage to the Dera Sacha Sauda, and the Chief Minister for “protecting” it, the court said the Bench was misled by the state functionaries.

The Full Bench of Acting the Chief Justice Surinder Singh Saron, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Avneesh Jhingan said, ‘There was a sea of difference between the administrative and political decisions, and the administrative decisions were paralyzed because of the political decisions.’

The next day, the Prime Minister, in his Sunday radio broadcast, (Mann Ki Baat) mentioned that violence in the name of faith would not be tolerated, but did not mention either Haryana or the Dera sect. ‘Our country is the land of the Buddha and Gandhiji,’ he said. ‘Our ancestors have taught us ahimsa paramo dharma. I want to assure my countrymen that those taking the law into their hands will not be tolerated by the country or its people. The guilty will be punished.’

Meanwhile, referring to the state government’s decision to suspend the deputy commissioner for issuing a defective prohibitory order, the High Court said the officer was not to be blamed. ‘It has strengthened our belief that it is all political. You are compelling us to go into a deeper probe to ascertain if it was done on the instructions of which officer.There is politics surrounding it. Just for the allure of the vote bank, you allowed people to gather. A probe will expose it.’

The bench noted that the Chief Minister was also the Home Minister. ‘Why could you not prevent the crowd from gathering for the last seven days?’ The bench also questioned the State Education Minister granting Rs.51 lakh to the Dera, asserting that this was not granted in his individual capacity but as a representative of the state. There is either a collusion or deliberate inaction in the incident. The Bench did not spare the Centre either ‘for treating the region as a colony.’

Meanwhile this whole-scale damning of the deras and all gurus, said a sociologist, was unfair and their constructive role needed to be lauded. He came to the defense of this maligned segment by stating that they have always been an integral part of the Indian social scene. ‘These are to be seen as outlets attending to the needs of society, beyond what conventional religion is able to provide or not provide.’

In modern parlance they are expressions of civil society at work, filling a void created by the state’s failure to provide protection and comfort. People at all times have felt the need for spiritual fellowship and a successful guru is able to create this unique relationship. A mutual myth is thus created. If some people misuse it the whole group cannot be damned.

Even Gurmeet Ram Rahim seems to have a remarkable organizational talent and marketing touch that would be the envy of any public relations executive. The path might be crude, but there is nothing insincere about it. He does not hide behind an ochre robe. According to the sociologist, where they go wrong is in getting enticed by the politician’s allurements. The deras are also the natural enemies of the Hindutva concept of a monolithic order instead of Hinduism’s freewheeling, diverse strands. Interestingly since its formation this is the first time that the BJP had come to power in Haryana.

On the completion of the 1,000 days the Chief Minister was felicitated for ushering in ‘Manohar raj.’ He was also proclaimed as the Chanakya by Amit Shah, the BJP chief.

All his cannot be music to the RSS which had proclaimed him as its poster boy. He had failed to graduate to be an administrator, just as the other poster boy in neighboring UP, Yogi Adityanath, has run into troubles.