President Should No More Remain Pratibha Patil

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Every human being has a name. But every human being is not a President of a Republic. In public life, therefore, the name does not matter. Position matters. After occupying a position, the person is required to act as the position calls for, not according to habits practiced under the name.

When Smt. Pratibha Patil was chosen President of the Republic, we had opined that she should leave behind her loyalty to the Congress Party run by Sonia-Singh combine and act in the manner befitting the dignity of the highest office.

Sadly, she has failed.

Double standard

Her double standard in dealing with cases of flagitious offenses makes a mockery of national faith the founding fathers had bestowed upon the President. If she is delaying for years her decisions on mercy petitions, oblivious of how that frustrates the judicial wisdom even of the Supreme Court, she is seen to have acted with extraordinary promptness to shatter the business of the Parliament so that impeachment proceedings against a judicial black sheep could be stopped.

Her protection to enemies of India

It is not that it is not known that there are enemies of Indian Republic amongst the convicted criminals that have, behind them, the support of foreign countries, when in Sonia-Singh power horizon, eagerness to serve foreign interests is not indiscernible.

Why the President is sleeping over petitions of criminals convicted with death sentences for years and keeping judicial orders inoperative by not disposing them off in the quickest possible time is not being explained to public even though their crime against the country, established through approval of the death sentences by the Supreme Court, calls for immediate execution of the death penalty.

The role of Smt. Patil in this matter is so gravely anti-nation that it is essential to amend the Constitution to ensure that after capital punishment awarded or approved by the Supreme Court, the clemency power should vest in a larger bench of the apex court, not in the President, who supposedly has no expertise in weighing whether or not the final judicial verdict is as per the laws of the land; and who, moreover, is a person nominated by the ruling party on the basis of his/her loyalty to the ruling coterie.

Her susceptibility to wishes of ruling coterie

She is so much susceptible to secret orders from the ruling coterie that she acted super-expeditiously to protect justice Soumitra Sen – a corrupt judge of Kolkata High Court, just when he was going to be removed through impeachment. She made a farce of her powers and position and did not hesitate to frustrate the Parliament. In her eagerness to please the political coterie that helped her occupy the top office, she showed unprecedented promptness in attending to Sen’s requirement to preempt the impeachment. She even did not hesitate to accept Sen’s resignation on a holiday like Sunday despite knowing that Monday was fixed by the Parliament to take up the impeachment motion against the judge. The tainted judge was even given the chance to make corrections in his application for resignation, without rejecting the defective document received originally. It is unthinkable that a President played such tricks on the Parliament. Had she not acted according to secret instructions from the people who run the government and whose nominee she was for the office, the government should have taken steps to impeach her for having rendered the pending business of the house inconsequential. So, it is clear that in derailing the parliament business, she had carried out secret orders of the ruling coterie.

The government led by Dr. Manmohan Singh has the history of succumbing to lobby in specific cases and in preempting the impeachment of justice Sen, his lobby succeeded. No other reason comes to our mind for the President accepting the defective resignation of justice Soumitra Sen, on a Sunday when the Loksabha was in midst of impeaching him on Monday.

Instead of acting as the President of India, sadly, the President has acted the Sonia-Singh loyal Pratibha Patil in this case. That she is more loyal to Sonia-Singh coterie than to India, as observed in her conduct in Sen’s matter, makes it clear that despite being the President, she has remained Pratibha Patil.

We have no reason to think otherwise.

Conduct of Salman Khursid confirms our fear

Justice Sen had faxed his resignation to the President on Thursday. It was known to the Government. It was known to the government that if the President accepts the resignation, the Loksabha will have to abort its motion for impeachment. Being the law minister, Salman Khurshid should have then rushed to the President to apprise her of the illegality of acceptance of the resignation in view of pendency of the motion in the Loksabha. But he did not. After the resignation was notified, on September 6, 2011, in the afternoon, the same Salman Khurshid moved the motion to drop the impeachment in Loksabha, which was declared accepted by the Speaker on the basis of the “sense of the House”.

Patil protects Khurshid

Now the Election Commission of India has found Khurshid guilty of willful contravention of the model code and the President has been moved by the EC to take necessary action against Khurshid.

But the expeditiousness the President displayed in Sen’s case is conspicuous by its absence in the EC case against Khurshid.

She has tried to delay the matter through the Prime Minister. The trick has helped Khurshid to write to the EC to convey his respect to the election authority. If the letter satisfies the EC in matter of its ego, and resultantly it develops a lenient view, what should the President do? Will she then hold that, with the EC being satisfied over the apology tendered by Khurshid, there was no offense in existence?

Be it clear that ego satisfaction of the EC is not the issue. Issue is: willful contravention of election laws by the law minister of the country while electioneering in a State.

Offense against democracy continues

In such an offense against democracy, the minimum action expected of the President, is that, she should instruct the PM to save democracy from being derailed by enemies of democracy like Salman Khurshid.

But, for this, the country needs a President, not a Pratibha Patil.

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