Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Sivaganga representative in the Loksabha, P. Chidambaram has failed in his case against the election case filed against him in the Madras High Court. Yet he has remained the Home Minister of India and asserts that there are 111 election cases pending against elected MPs in Courts in the country and, hence, there is no necessity for him to resign.
His challenger Mr. Raja Kannappan of AIDMK claims that he had secured 3,34,348 votes as against Chidambaram’s 3,30,994. But by manipulation, the powerful central minister was declared elected by a margin of 3,354 votes. Among many other allegations found triable by the Court, one is: bribing of thousands of women voters belonging to self-help groups at the rate of Rs.500 each through his son Karti Chidambaram.
Chidambaram had tried to get the election petition quashed, first on technical ground, which the Court had turned down. Then he had filed a misc case seeking rejection of the election petition on the ground that it does not disclose any cause of action. This misc case is rejected too, with the observation that cause of action is convincingly disclosed.
The Court on June 7 has said, “A perusal of the various averments made in the election petition shows that sufficient material facts were made and it discloses cause of action for trial of the election petition. It also contains adequate statement of material facts on which the allegations of irregularities or illegalities in counting were founded … The contention that the election petition does not disclose any cause of action cannot be accepted.”
So, even before the final verdict comes on the election petition, it is established that Kannappan has adduced sufficient and strong material facts to justify Chidambaram’s trial for corrupt practices in election.
It is strange that instead of cooperating with the Court to close the case on proper hearing within the stipulated time, Chidambaram has played the dilatory tactics of filing misc cases one after one and stayed a MP and a Minister by stymieing the process of law, thereby denying the people of Sivaganga their legitimate right to be represented in the Loksabha without any stink of infection on democracy.
The shrewd fellows like Chidambaram are able to hijack democracy because of lack of exemplary punishment and because of absence of specific election courts.
Elsewhere in these pages we have, time and again, stressed upon creation of Election Courts in every state or Election Benches in every High Court and also in the Supreme Court with the only assignment of deciding election petitions.
From Chidambaram’s assertions it transpires that, like him, there are one hundred and eleven MPs, who are facing election cases, which means, in those 111 Loksabha constituencies, people are, because of delay in disposal of the cases, in dark about whether they have legal representation in the rampart of democracy.
Fortunately for R.P.Swain of my area, his petition has ended in his favor in both the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court, a bit earlier; as a result of which, re-election has already been held in Athgarh_Tigiria and he has returned to the Assembly, whereby the people of my area have been able to have their legitimate representation in Orissa Assembly.
But the people of Sivaganga Loksabha Constituency are devoid of this opportunity as yet. So also, people of 111 Loksabha Constituencies in the country, of which Chidambaram has mentioned to pooh-pooh the Opposition demand for his resignation.
The fellows who manipulate elections also manipulate judicial systems to stay in illegal occupation of berths in Legislatures; because there is no specific Election Courts to decide the election cases within stipulated time.
Under subsection (6) of section 86 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 the High Courts are required to adjudicate upon election petitions continuously on “day to day” basis until their conclusion, whereas subsection (7) declares that “every election petition shall be tried as expeditiously as possible and endeavor shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date on which the election petition is presented to the High Court on trial.”
But normally as the High Courts are overloaded with cases of all natures, disposal of election cases, though essential for democracy, are in most cases, not even heard within the life time of a House constituted on the basis of the elections challenged.
This being a reality, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended for setting up of Special Election Tribunals to expedite timely disposal of election petitions.
But, as non-existence of such specific Tribunals/Courts are more suitable to shrewd fellows who occupy legislative berths illegally and become ministers, the above recommendation is never attended to.
Therefore, in these pages, we have been harping on about the necessity of creation of such Tribunals/Courts by Supreme Court through appropriate case laws.
In Chidambaram matter, howsoever belated it be, the Court has now removed the stymie he had cleverly put to its proceeding in the main case.
Instead of welcoming the decision and assuring to cooperate with the Court to conclude the case as quickly as possible by hearing the case “from day to day”, Chidambaram has started bragging about how his case is one of 111 such cases pending in the Courts!
Had he been any idiot in politics, the braggadocio could have been not such offensive. But he is the Home Minister of India. And, his conduct affects the country.
Will the Prime Minister wake up?
He is appointed and continues in the cabinet on the pleasure of the Prime Minister. So, it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to say as to whether his Home Minister should resign following the rejection of his plea in the election case against him or continue to convert the case to a time-consuming instance of legal acrobatics till the life span of the present Loksabha passes away and the election case becomes infructuous.
Otherwise, this case shall show us, how hollow has become Indian democracy in the hands of Dr. Singh and his team.