April 2, 2009

Sanjay Dutt Is Small Fry. What About The Real Big Boys?

I often welcome a hearty laugh when I watch news on television or read newspapers; because what I see and read is usually so exasperatingly infuriating and depressing that anger and frustration simply overwhelm me. So I had a hearty chuckle the other day when I found out that Sadhu Yadav – the brother-in-law of Lalu Prasad Yadav – will be a Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha elections. That, I thought, was delicious irony. I also laughed watching the media cover the manner in which film star Sanjay Dutt was projected and nominated as a Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow, a seat that is still held by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. From Vajpayee to Dutt would have been an interesting transition! But then, Sanjay Dutt happens to be a convicted criminal who is also a Bollywood megastar. I have the deepest sympathies for him and his family; but I have always wondered if the Indian judiciary, and the media, were going commodiously soft on him because of his background. I mean, he did allegedly confess to storing AK-56 rifles and grenades (given to him by the gangster Abu Salem who is now behind bars but more than willing to contest elections)!

So my first thoughts when the Supreme Court refused to allow Sanjay Dutt to contest elections was a mild sense of relief that maybe we are moving in the right direction. That maybe we, as Indians, are heading for a galvanised situation when criminals can no longer utilize their contemptible clout or specious charisma to contest elections, get elected and announce that they have been vindicated by the ‘court of the people’ – the ultimate authority in a democracy. But before I could even think further along those lines, I remembered the putrescent scores of criminals who were openly making a mockery of the Indian democracy even during this Lok Sabha election, with the Indian judiciary looking on helplessly. I checked with my editorial team and found to my horror that criminals are serious and leading candidates in every major state in India; and that they belong to virtually every political party. Even more shocking, criminals who have been convicted and are spending time behind bars and who are not allowed to contest elections are planning to enter the Lok Sabha through the back door by having their wives, daughters and other close relatives contest the elections. In fact, I am still finding it hard to digest the fact that many so called criminal politicians with serious allegations of being in league with terrorists are also serious players this time. God really help India, I say.

I am simply appalled at how India’s electoral and judicial system has allowed this to happen and how much worse continues to happen. I squarely blame both the political class and the Indian judiciary for this intolerable failure that threatens to destroy India. My editorial colleagues have done much research and told me that both the Election Commission and the Supreme Court in fact wanted to take steps that would prevent criminals from contesting elections. The tipping point for them was when, back in 2002, all political parties conspiratorially and concomitantly got together and passed a law that actually allowed criminals to contest elections. Many thereon say that Indian judiciary tried its best and it should not be blamed.

I totally disagree. I think the Indian judiciary and the political class are both guilty of depriving the average Indian citizen of even basic ordinary choices. Economics says that crime too is ruled and infected by incentive – that is, the less the chances of you being punished, the more the chances of you committing a crime. The rancid Indian political class is aware of this delightful incentive. And the pallid Indian judiciary has generously not bothered to redress the balance. Look at Sanjay Dutt. He was arrested for a crime allegedly committed in 1993; and you have puissant Indian courts still trying to decide if he should contest elections! It is only in the last few years that sustained pressure from civil society has forced the judiciary to send even powerful people – including politicians – behind bars. Otherwise, it was simply case after nauseant case of a criminal politician benefiting election after election as cases dragged on in regrettably inefficacious courts.

The deeper problem is the Indian judiciary not making an example of rotten apples within its own suppurating system. We have been profanely embarrassed by public revelations that millions of rupees have been delivered to the houses of High Court judges. We have seen the peccant spectacle of a High Court judge facing impeachment. We have seen credible allegations of a top judicial officer passing orders to favour his family. We have seen the caustic provident fund scam in Uttar Pradesh where numerous judges – some now in High Courts and the Supreme Court – have brazenly misused their powers. We have seen a licentious High Court judge enterprisingly exchange sexual favours for judicial orders. We have seen snappish judges protesting vehemently that they can’t declare their assets. And one thought Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion! We seem to have seen it all. And yet, where is the movement towards basic reforms in judiciary where the rotten apples could have been punished so severely that the ‘incentive’ system would have worked against malefic corruption and worse?

If even those opprobrious judicial officers facing serious allegations of corruption and crime can use the system to get away, what can one expect of pathologically criminal politicians who anyway don’t make tall promises about sobriety and honesty?

Sanjay Dutt is simply a small fry. The real bigger fry are continuing to make merry at our expense. Civil society needs to tackle this twin menace most urgently if it wants a future for India.


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17 comments:

AB said...

Dear AC

I regularly read your blog. Your articles are wonderful. But please use simple English to write the articles. On one side people (at least I) get to know some new words but on the other hand sometimes the words make the article difficult to understand. It would be nice if you can use simple vocabulary for your articles.

regards,
Abhishek

Azad said...

well well well...
Ideally, i would have loved to live in the illusion that atleast judiciary and army of the nation are not corrupt!
But now that you have burst the bubble, let us analyse the situation!
Corruption and inefficiency were always a part of Indian courts...
A 'common man' has always been afraid of indian judicial and policing system...
I would have been happier if u and ur editorial team would have given a solution to this problem...

JAI HIND

JOURNALISM WITH MISSION & VISION said...

Hi AC
Thank God, this criminal will not go to the Parliament. Lets uphold the santity of the Parliament

monjib

Ankur said...

sir, by reading this blog i feel DEMOCRACY IS THE ROOT FOR CORRUPTION.Don't u feel people are taking undue advantage of democracy. yeah! SANJAY DUTT IS SMALL FRY.WHAT ABOUT THE REAL BIG BOYS ? how do we get them? Is it possible to trial them in a democratic country like INDIA ?

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Indian said...

Media censors Jihadi Violence in Mysore

http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=8505&SKIN=B

Mahendra Mehta said...

The politicians are, and have always been. the most inefficient and worthless class of people in the world. It is that merit is valued in every walk of human life except in politics. In politics alone merit has no value at all. The person who is convicted criminal can very well become the minister of a country -- there is no difficulty in it,
In fact, politics is the refuge, and the only refuge of the misfits and the nincompoops. Politics does not ask for any particular qualifications, specialized knowledge, on the part of those who want to enter its arena. It is a strange profession, which calls for nothing except that you can shout slogans and get some followers behind you. But what will he do by becoming the minister?

. The majority party should find highly qualified and experienced specialists and experts in different fields of government -- like education, health, finance and the rest -- and form the council of ministers with them. For example, it will be the task of the majority party to find the best educationist for the job of education minister. Similarly it will appoint the best physician as health minister. The right to select the specialist members of the Cabinet will certainly belong to the majority party, but no popular film stars representatives will be appointed as education minister and health minister, or any minister for that matter.
What we have at the moment is mobocracy; it is certainly not democracy. It is all right for the people to choose their representatives for the parliament, but it should be the clearly defined task of the majority party in parliament to find the best men of merit to administer the various divisions and functions of the government..
They have to see to it that the selected ministers are fully qualified for their different jobs. Then we will have meritocracy in the place of the mobocracy that we have. Unless democracy is wedded to meritocracy, it will remain a tool in the hands of the ignorant and stupid people. And unless democracy it allied with meritocracy, democracy will continue to be the instrument of man's downfall and degradation; it can never be the instrument of his uplifting and glory.
. Meritocracy means the rule of the experts, the specialists, the qualified people; it is the rule of men of merit.

Mahendra Mehta said...

The politicians are, and have always been. the most inefficient and worthless class of people in the world. It is that merit is valued in every walk of human life except in politics. In politics alone merit has no value at all. The person who is convicted criminal can very well become the minister of a country -- there is no difficulty in it,
In fact, politics is the refuge, and the only refuge of the misfits and the nincompoops. Politics does not ask for any particular qualifications, specialized knowledge, on the part of those who want to enter its arena. It is a strange profession, which calls for nothing except that you can shout slogans and get some followers behind you. But what will he do by becoming the minister?

. The majority party should find highly qualified and experienced specialists and experts in different fields of government -- like education, health, finance and the rest -- and form the council of ministers with them. For example, it will be the task of the majority party to find the best educationist for the job of education minister. Similarly it will appoint the best physician as health minister. The right to select the specialist members of the Cabinet will certainly belong to the majority party, but no popular film stars representatives will be appointed as education minister and health minister, or any minister for that matter.
What we have at the moment is mobocracy; it is certainly not democracy. It is all right for the people to choose their representatives for the parliament, but it should be the clearly defined task of the majority party in parliament to find the best men of merit to administer the various divisions and functions of the government..
They have to see to it that the selected ministers are fully qualified for their different jobs. Then we will have meritocracy in the place of the mobocracy that we have. Unless democracy is wedded to meritocracy, it will remain a tool in the hands of the ignorant and stupid people. And unless democracy it allied with meritocracy, democracy will continue to be the instrument of man's downfall and degradation; it can never be the instrument of his uplifting and glory.
. Meritocracy means the rule of the experts, the specialists, the qualified people; it is the rule of men of merit.

paul said...

Sir, its not the mistake of the bad, but because of the silence of the good.when honest,educated, straight forward people remain silent, and do not want to join politics because its bad, then surely this paves the way for criminals and the corrupt to enter politics. some body has to take responsibility right! well sir,we hate and do not want to join politics alright. But do we take some effort to support people who genuinely want to make some change in the system. well, a few years back four IIT students in Chennai started a political party and one of the party's core objectives is 'corruption free India'. How many of us backed such heroes who showed such guts to fight against this corrupt and rotten system. I read the news about these students in a newspaper somewhere at some corner of a page. Our Media even cannot publish such news in the front page- headlines, because such news do not sell.chand-fiza love story hit the headlines, because such news do sell in India. Now the same media, is conducting campaigns conveying the message that 'everyone should vote'. These campaigns are sponsored and backed by corporate houses and advertisements, otherwise who would take care to conduct such campaigns.

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KUNAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KUNAL said...

god alone knows when the system is gona change. .. many many congratulations though - for bringing to a manys attention.
cheers :)

debadityo said...

@ Azad:

There are corruption everywhere.. even army is.. mostly the lowere ranker.. but as media acces is not so easy inside a army guarded area.. it far beyond expoure.. but it exists!!!

sm said...

good post
corruption is a corruption then may be 1 rupee or 1 crore,
criminal is a criminal 2 year punished or 1 month everyone who is punished under Indian penal code, criminal charges should be banned from standing for elections.

kris said...

Its not the new thing, we as the citizens of India are listening to..!! Well the fact of the matter is everybody knows whats happening around us but nobody have a bit of clue to get rid of it... Everybody talks about the menace that india is facing from all corners and its the high time we need to tackle this. But still the fundamental question remain intact HOW?? You also ended the debate without giving any feasible solution.
What are the solution that people usually talks about. The most common of all is encourage more and more youth to join politics... WE have seen many youths coming and joining politics but not a single one have the courage to run against the wind. So what to do in order to fight this..? Do we need to change the mindset of people of India..? I invite all of you to discuss on solutions not just admiring what the guru is saying..!!

Prem Khanna J said...

Dear Mr.Chouduri ,

It enjoyed your article.
Just curious : Which God do you
think can save India ?

Warm Regards,
Prem

yashu said...

ARINDAM SIR,

i got one question for you to answer...what if one has ideas but the whole system never let one to apply....take example of elections everyone in india raised their voices to vote...but at the same time "if you are given 10 dogs to choose,who will you choose so that it turn out to be a human?..."the whole point is had our leaders solely wanted to serve nation they wouldn't be fighting like cynics.
Therefore,the whole point of voting is gone.
plz HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND THE SCENARIO....evn a sentence frm your side would work.

Ankit Singhal said...

Yes it is true that there us some fault in Indian judiciary system but the common man should be more sensible if we people will not vote these criminals then will not enter in the politics.

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