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July 17, 2011

Page: 3/39

Home > 2011 Issues > July 17, 2011

Paralysed government, pro-active judiciary

These days it seems, it is the judiciary that is running the country. There are certain sections, mostly inspired by vested interests who criticise judicial activism and caution the courts not to cross the Lakshman Rekha. Particularly, the decision of the Supreme Court to set up the Special Investigation Team(SIT) to monitor the black money probe has ruffled the political feathers.

The apex court in a scathing comment on the government’s inaction and indifference to unearth black money, said that there were serious lapses in government investigations. This is not the first time the Supreme Court blasted the central government on this issue. On a number of occasions in the last two years the government faced rap from the apex court on the same issue. In fact, if notorious criminals like Hasan Ali, and corrupt politicians like Suresh Kalmadi, Kanimozhi and A Raja are cooling their heels in Tihar Jail it is only because of the highly commendable role played by the judiciary. In a milieu when politicians of all hues, in government or outside, the bureaucracy, to a large part the corporate and the media stand exposed and discredited before the public it is this judicial pro-activeness that has restored the common man’s faith in the system.

Be it, the 2G scam, CWG scam or the stashing away of Indian wealth abroad or black money the Manmohan Singh government was in total denial. It not only refused to act against corrupt politicians and buccaneer hawala masterminds and black souls in the system, it often went to the extent of denying the existence of any scam and black money.

The Supreme Court taking over the investigation on black money by appointing a judge to constitute the SIT slammed the “laggardly pace” of government probe. This is the second instance after 2G scam where government has lost charge of investigation into an issue with political ramification. This is a big blow on the credibility of the UPA government. The court specifically cited the case of Hasan Ali to underline how the centre was dodging the tracking of black money. Remember, Hasan Ali was arrested and is in jail only because of an earlier court order.

Significantly, the latest order marks a vote of no confidence in the government’s efforts to track unaccounted wealth within the country and parked in foreign shores and tax havens. “The amount of unaccounted monies held abroad is massive. The named individuals were very much present within the country. Yet, for unknown and possibly unknowable though easily surmisable reasons the investigations into the matter proceeded at a laggardly pace. Even the named individuals have not yet been questioned with any degree of seriousness,” the court pointed out.

The apex court’s criticism of the government’s inaction has not come a day too early, especially when the civil society and crusaders like Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravishankar and Anna Hazare have been actively campaigning to arouse the public against sweeping corruption at all levels of administration.

The Manmohan Singh government has become so brazen that it looks so paralysed at all levels – not only in stemming the tide of corruption but even in day to day governance. Last week in these columns we drew the attention of the nation to the unprecedented outflow of investments from the country( ‘Congress busy killing the India story,’ July3, 2011). See what HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh told in an interview to Times of India, on July 7, 2011.

Parekh said, it is the government paralysis that is fuelling flight of capital . “I have been told by several large industrial houses that they are now looking at investing abroad as it’s much easier. Their aim or strategy is to now have 50 per cent of their turnover from abroad.” The decline in investment in India is because of the indecisiveness at the centre. He said, the flight of capital is serious because what is going abroad is needed badly right here in India.

The hope again is that only the court or such institutions and alert public reaction can stir this government out of its slumber.

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