The Indian Supreme Court crisis

by Garga Chatterjee | Published: 00:05, Feb 12,2018 | Updated: 23:14, Feb 11,2018

 
 

Justices Kurian Joseph, Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur, seated, address the media at a news conference in Delhi. — The Hindu/Reuters

WHILE it may appear that the revolt by the four senior most judges may be over or sidelined from media space, it is a simmering situation because the issues raised remain unsolved. Hence, it is still ongoing even without the media focus. The Supreme Court crisis where the four senior most judges have publicly rebelled against the chief justice of the Supreme Court in New Delhi by holding a press conference to air their grievances that went unmitigated after many attempts at negotiation with the chief justice. Their charge is extremely serious. The implication of the charge is that the chief justice is now compromised and has been allocating cases to specific junior judges in a way that cases whose outcomes may be potentially embarrassing and damaging to the BJP and the union government are disposed of by specific junior judges so that the outcomes are favourable to the powers that be.
In the life of the Indian Union, which is about 70 years old, the present regime at Delhi is unlike any other that came before it. Never before has a party with a sectoral ethno-ideological base has come to power with full majority. This government is a Hindu government, a Hindi government and a Hindustan region government. While earlier governments had a strong representation of non-Hindi popular leadership in the union government and the ruling party or the coalition, most of the token non-Hindis in the BJP are hardly mass leaders in their state. They are more like defenders of the Delhi interest in their non-Hindi state. It is not as if the citizens of non-Hindi states do not realise this. The characterisation of the BJP as essentially a Hindi party was borne out by the 2014 parliamentary elections too. The six major Hindi states contributed to 60 per cent of the seats won by the BJP in 2014 while seat-wise, all the seats in these states (not only those won by the BJP) make up less than 37 per cent of the total number of Lok Sabha seats. Three out of four seats won by the BJP came from the Hindi belt or Gujarat. Due to all-round politicisation of everything that the union government can influence directly or indirectly, a naked ethnic and linguistic bias is emerging. The prime minister is from Gujarat, the chief of the ruling party is from Gujarat, the RBI governor is from Gujarat, the chief election commissioner was Modi’s chief secretary in Gujarat and so on. The rest are largely cow belt products. This is a grave assault to the distributed stakeholdership and ownership of the Indian Union and is a threat against the unity and integrity of the union. Given this changing balance of power, should one also view the Supreme Court through this lens? Because if this bias has crept in, a bias that is as much as ideological as it is ethno-linguistic and as the BJP’s performance shows that they are strongly related, then where does that leave the non-Hindi citizens and states of the Indian Union?
It is an open and nasty secret that the cogs and wheels of every union secretariat as well courts have the peri-Delhi zone Hindi heartland over-represented. Hindi preference types qualifying exams and various unwritten kinship rules manage these appointments. And now, with the rise of the BJP, this also represents an ideological bloc. What are its implications at a time when senior supreme court counsels have alleged that whenever a ‘sensitive’ case is registered? It does not go for random allotment to judges as it should be, but is taken to the chief justice’s office. These are precisely the mechanisms by which the ideological and the ethno-linguistic blocs become one and the same, cutting out a majority of the Indian Union’s citizens from decisions that affect them. And a certain section of mostly upper-caste Hindu non-Hindi elites has decided to play along with this sinister game for their own benefits, protection and advancement.
Since Delhi rules the non-Hindi states, the some of the wars Delhi fights within itself are consequential to ethno-linguistic states, because our interests are also unfortunately adversely affected. Through the Supreme Court war, one faction of Delhi is protesting at the breach of an inner line of an unwritten agreement among all the ruling classes of Delhi till now. That is, one faction of the Delhi imperium (in this case coalesced as the BJP) is implementing a well-devised plan such that it will never lose power without chance of renegotiation of this crossing of agreed upon lines. The BJP is trying to game and fix the system at every level that Delhi can possibly enter, with one goal. It has a singular role — to ensure that the BJP will never lose. It has captured big money and corporate lobbies, it has politically captured the den of thieves and communal, hate-filled scum that is the cow belt, it has captured much of military, it has captured much of English and Hindi media, it has captured a good section of the Delhi-subdidised central higher education institutions across disciplines, including humanities and science, and it plans to destroy all state education boards within the next 10 years. They want to either make non-Hindis second-class converts to Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan or make us second-class citizens and slaves. And they are mostly using our non-Hindi money to do this, spending it to build a naked police-militia-military state — essentially, a government made out of the sickest among the cow belt-merchant-capitalist-sponsored hate-monger specimens of the cow belt, working in consonance with urbanite banias and western corporate interest gangs and a set of violent male brutes drawn mostly from groups that were most loyal suppliers to the British Indian military — in short, a demonic state. They are the enemies of all non-Hindi states. They are enemies of our non-Hindi ancestors. They are enemies of our non-Hindi future generations. They want the importance and reality of being a Telugu, a Bengali, a Tamil, an Axomiya, a Kannadiga, an Odiya, a Garhwali, a Jharkhandi (in its original sense of representing a tribal linguistic confederation of homeland nations), a Marathi, a Punjabi and a Meitei to become like the dry skin that snakes shed occasionally. The BJP should know that it our blood and bones. Non-Hindi states will not surrender and the rise of state identity politics in non-Hindi states are signs of that resistance. Cows must know that they are dealing with tigers.
The Supreme Court is where due to the presence of strong ‘provincial’ power centres in the form of high courts and lower courts, some non-Hindi elites have had somewhat adequate representation of major linguistic groups. In some ways, it represents the last bastion of the treaty of the union, with IAS, IPS, academia, business and education already under takeover. There is a slow takeover of this last hold-out institution too, person by person, ethno-religiously, value-wise, BJP-wise and through long-range plans like centralised exams-based judge selection exams and through even longer-range plans like the CBSE. If this process continues unabated, the non-Hindi states will completely lose the Supreme Court. All non-Hindis must stop this process. And if non-Hindis lose, they must understand the absolutely dangerous implications of the success of this process. For states, this means, the meaning of the undefined federal structure as part of the basic structure of the constitution of the Indian Union will mean absolutely nothing.
It is precisely because the BJP does represent a widespread section of Hindi national society that for non-Hindis, decentralisation and expansion of states rights must be the collective non-negotiable goal. Any non-Hindi state should be able to protect against invasion and indirect rule by an army of hate. That is an inalienable right of any people under the sun.

Garga Chatterjee, an Indian brain scientist at MIT, writes columns from Kolkata for newspapers in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

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