Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Mandate 2014 is set to usher in a new era of anarchy in India as crorepatis and criminals in massive numbers are contesting this election from various political parties with corporate media at their command indulging in suppression of information and transmission of misinformation or disinformation to mislead the voters.
For criminals, the election is just a ladder to power. Criminalization of politics is so overwhelming that it is difficult to distinguish who of the political candidates is not a criminal.
The Supreme Court of India has had the experience of how the outgoing Parliament foiled its order for debarment of criminals contesting the elections.
The current polls, vitiated with active components of polarization, portend occupation of higher numbers of seats in the incoming Houses of Representatives by criminals whom law has failed to debar from entering into Legislative Bodies.
Law’s inability to debar them from contesting the elections is because of the Courts’ inability to punish them in time.
Every criminal is enjoying stupendous freedom in this country to derail prosecution by procuring multi-stage stays from Courts from lower to the highest that makes a farce of law invoked in the preliminary Court.
Law becomes a farce, as stays or bails are grated without making the same bound with a time tag.
The discretion of Courts to grant stay or bail goes against the spirit of criminal prosecution unless the same is granted for a particular time with the stipulation that if the accused fails to prove miscarriage of justice in the learned Court or prove his /her innocence within that specific time, the stay or bail shall stand automatically cancelled and prosecution shall proceed without any further obstruction from any higher court.
I have advanced this argument in these pages several times, a few of which may be studied at:
Norm should be Bail on appeal, not on anticipation
Judges should desist from making farce of their power to grant Bail
I regret to say, discretion of judges to grant stay or bail appears as discretion of judges to delay the dispensation of justice.
This is the reason why so many fellows with charges of felonious crimes pending against them since long, despite some found guilty of the offenses in learned Courts, are not in jails and death rows and are contesting the elections.
This time, it seems, there shall be more election cases than what the last election had generated. And democracy will be in dense disarray if judiciary behaves as it has behaved in the election case against union minister P. Chidambaram.
It would be gainful to recall that Union Minister Chidambaram’s pleas for dismissal of an election case filed against him for having contravened election laws and having indulged in electoral malpractices including bribing the voters and using the Returning Officer to hijack rival’s votes, has been repeatedly rejected in the Madras High Court; and, how despite that, the entire term ended, but Chidambaram could not be unseated.
I had discussed the syndrome in these articles:
Sivaganga shows how hollow has become Indian democracy
Chidambaram could not have dared to contest: But Judiciary should be ashamed of how it helped him stay in power for the whole term.
This is an instance of treachery the judiciary has played against the country. But we cannot say it for certain, because, we also know, the Courts are overloaded with cases of all characters.
Therefore, we have been insisting that, democracy being the essence of Indian Republic and Elections to Houses of Representatives being the basis of democracy, Election Cases deserve utmost attention and speediest disposal. For this purpose, we have been crying for creation of exclusive Election Benches in the High Courts of every State and in the Supreme Court or a separate Election Tribunal the way the Green Tribunal has been created.
My initial focus on this issue was captioned:
Democracy needs Supreme Court to create separate Election Benches.
It is time, the Supreme Court of India must act in this regard if Indian Democracy is to be saved from the criminals and the anti-people plutocrats.
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