Crisis of trust

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/27/2020 1:17:04 PM IST

 At a time when spirit of democracy in India is dramatically evolving with the constitution under tremendous pressure from majoritarian politics and at a time when the third pillar of democracy-judiciary-remains the only hope; it is unfortunate that there has been aspersions cast on it. Noted activist-cum-Supreme Court lawyer Prashan Bhushan had courted controversy when he posted tweets on Twitter on June 27 and 29. In his tweets, Bhushan wrote on the “role of the Supreme Court” in the “destruction” of democracy during the last six in which he also mentioned the “role of the last 4 CJIs” in it. In response, the Supreme Court on July 22 issued a contempt notice on Bhushan. On Monday, July 27, a group of 131 prominent citizens, including former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur and Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav, released a statement, expressing solidarity with activist-advocate Prashant Bhushan. The signatories also raised concerns about the SC’s “reluctance” to carry out its “constitutionally mandated role as a check on governmental excess and violation of fundamental rights of the people by the state”. They also opined that the Supreme Court must be open to public discussion without the fear of retribution. In the solidarity statement, the signatories wrote: “The principle that criticism of the judiciary should not be stifled by indiscriminate use of the power of contempt has been recognised by the Supreme Court as well as by academics and advocates of repute.” The 131 signatories of the statement include historian Ramachandra Guha, former Delhi High Court judge Justice A.P. Shah, author Arundhati Roy, activist Harsh Mander, lawyer Indira Jaising, among several others. It may also be noted, that this is not the first time that Bhushan has fallen foul of the Supreme court. He had been served with contempt of court notices such as -in 2009( for alleging that half of the last 16 Chief Justices were corrupt), 2013 and March 2019.Be that as it may, the insinuations do not augur well for the nation since the law has to be seen to be above board. However, it is also a fact that in present times, India is taking a somewhat turbulent turn, since politics has been given freehand to override and manipulate the structures of every nation-building edifice, which mostly has a dangerous influence on the social structure too. Perhaps what some scholars, academicians and politicians termed as the wider ‘Crisis of Trust’ in society is not unfounded. In India, mistrust and suspicion have spread across all areas of life and supposedly with good reason. Progressive citizens in India no longer trust governments, politicians and legal institutions including law and police. This is where the judiciary is expected to assure citizens that it remains committed in upholding the freedom they enjoy under the constitution. Today, political competition has become aggressive and public discourse abusive. Anger towards the government is suppressed due to curtailment of civil liberties and freedom of expression, media being held captive, religious polarisation and violence by vigilante groups. Independent institutions have started crumbling under relentless government pressure. Prominent opposition figures have been seduced or blackmailed, through the use of official investigative agencies rattling their closets for skeletons. There are many instances that indicate how dog-whistle politics remains unsurpassed in India. The past five years will be known for the most bellicose political manoeuvrings. Amidst all these, the only dim hope is an independent judiciary that can rescue the country from turning into a repressive state.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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