Manipur and Haryana: The Courts Step In, A Welcome Development

scales of justice

When we all were suffering from the fatigue of inactions in the court rooms and Manipur is not really being discussed in Parliament, orders of Country’s top court on Manipur followed by two recent orders of the High Court in Haryana on the Nuh demolition drive need to be understood, explained and celebrated.

Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud has risen on the occasion and its order does look that it is serious on the issue of complete lawlessness in the state. Actually, Supreme Court’s order on Manipur is a strong stricture on the working of both the state government as well as the Central government but unfortunately our member of Parliaments have not yet vouched this issue in Parliament as per the Supreme Court order.

The way various committees have been appointed including three former chief justices, all women, to look into the issue is a welcome step and we hope they will instill confidence among the local people to share their concern. The appointment of Former Director General of Police from Maharashtra to oversee the investigation of CBI whose officers will be consisting from other states. The court wanted to ensure that there is an impartial investigation as the administration run paralysed as well as turn absolutely bias, the BJP and its leaders have found an easy bogey of the past. For every failure of them, they turn to dig the grave of Jawahar Lal Nehru.

It is absolutely shameful that the current government has not taken it seriously and targeting Nehru via Assam Chief Minister Himanta Sharma who remained as loud and foul as ever. I have mentioned it many time that BJP’s politics is to deliberate create a crisis, prolong it so that their administrative failure become the political master stroke. They take the inaction or foul play to a level to give it an ‘ideological shape’. So you now have stories of how Maities have been harassed and exploited. How Kukis have amassed everything. Again, one need to understand that issues of ethnic identities and their domain areas have been real and for long. To remove them, you need to bring them together and not to create further divisions. BJP knows it well that it wont succeed if the divisions are based on ethnicity. It simply convert them into religious differences which were never there. So, Kukis who are tribals, have been converted by the BJP for its political propaganda as Christians who the British brought from outside. Maities are now Hindus who have been ‘exploited’ despite the fact that they are the most powerful communities in Manipur and widely represented in political sphere as well as administration at all level. Nobody says, that there were no differences but these differences were of various ethnic groups related to area, and culture. BJP has converted them into Hindu verses Christian which never was but given their experience from Assam where the fight was against illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh, the BJP converted it between the HIndus and Muslims and got massive mandate on turning people hostile against each other and putting a fear psychosis among the most powerful communities.

Therefore, the Supreme Court order on fair investigation is a welcome step and categorically loss of faith in both the central and state government. It also restore people’s faith in judicial system and rule of law.

The other order for which the court deserve kudos is the Punjab and Haryana High Court order on stopping the demolition in the aftermath of Nuh violence which the court actually felt as ‘ethnic cleansing’. This is historical that a court has said that the demolition are targeted and amount to ethnic cleansing. The fact is that the court order came very late and by that time the government had already done its work. Now, if the Courts are adamant, let them order reconstruction and impose heavy penalty on the government and the officials who carry out these illegal demolition which has become part of the carefully crafted political agenda of the ruling BJP and its cadre. All state governments of the BJP ruled states are using the demolition of houses to send a message to their highly polarised and communalised cadres that we are committed to punish the Muslims. This is absolutely despicable. Rule of law must be implemented impartially but for BJP and its leader, it has to teach a lessons to Muslims.

The demolition of the houses of Muslims in various parts of the country by state governments and their officials need Supreme attention from the Supreme Court. These demolitions actually violate all national and international laws. They are against the spirit of the constitution and allow the officials and political leaders to declare an individual as criminal and punish him instantly without giving him or her the opportunity to prove his innocence. At the end, it is the constitutional courts which will decide who is guilty and who is innocent and it will be dangerous and absolutely unconstitutional if the police and administration is put in to judge and then execute the people on the basis of frivolous complaints filed by the same elements who abuse and intimidate the minorities and the marginalised. Law can not be allowed to be a tool to exploit and punish people as per the whims and fancies of ruling party.

The two judgements will restore people’s faith in judiciary only if a follow up action and few other orders come from the apex court. One, the court must guide the lower courts including the high courts about the quality of judgements. I mean, why are there hundreds of pages of preaching with little explanation of the Constitutional grounds. Second, take a decision about Under Trials. If there is no chargesheet even after five years, what should the court do ? At least release the persons and provide compensation to them. Once innocent people will start getting compensation and guilty officers punished, the process of using law as a tool to finish the political opponents will end. The Supreme Court must send a strong signal to the lower courts asking them to be fair to the constitution and not to a political agenda of our time. We hope the two orders of the courts are enough signal. Let us see how it deals with other important issues of our times in the coming days. For the moment, kudos to the Chief Justice of India for his courageous stand.

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Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at twitter @freetohumanity Email: [email protected]

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