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   If I may point out, democracy in India... (September 10, 1996)

If I may point out, democracy in India has finally settled in its own pattern. It took 50 years to do so, but systems take time to evolve. In the U.S., it took 200 years and atraumatic civil war for the American to work out their own style of government. In other countires it has taken 500 years. The French are still working out their mode of government, the French Revolution has solved nothing in this respect. So for India to have done it in 50 years is an excellent achievement. We should all be proud of it.

So, what is the government we have evolved? India is no longer ruled by prime ministers. Mr. Gowda, and those who will follow him, are small cogs in the wheel. The days of Nehrus and Gandhis are over, dynasty is only a Hollywood serial.

It is not the cabinet that takes decisions. Most of the time, the home minister does not know what the defence minister is doing, and the defence minister does not know he is the defence minister. And it is not the ex-prime minister, in this case Mr. Narasimha Rao, who is governing the country and calling the shots from behind the scenes, or his proxy, Mr. Sitaram Kesri.

It is the courts that are governing the country, the judiciary. Some people call it judicial activitism, but it is actually judicial government. And it is probably the best thing that could have happened to the much beleagured country.

The supreme court and its distinguished bench of judges is at the top. Then the high court judges, the chief metropolitan magistrates, the metropolitan magistrates the large body of active and retired judges heading various commissions of inquiry.

The common man no longer has to go to his local corporator or MLA to ameliorate his grievances and find that the man he has elected is no longer interested in his or prepared to do anything for him. All he has to do is to file a public interest petition in court. And there are enough lawyers who are prepared to take up such petitions without fees.

The courts now look into all matters that the government's various departments have so far failed to do. It can direct the police to investigate, call in the CID, hand over the case to the CBI, pull up the CBI joint director, dismiss the director. The courts, naturally, decide when to issue bailable warrants, when to make them non-bailable, when to withhold arrest warrants, whether to send an accused to prison or hospital, which court to hold a case in, whether to shift it outside the court premises, how many reporters to allow entry into the courtromm, 12 or 13. And the courts decide among themselves what is right and wrong, what one court rules, the other may overrule.

If you do not believe me, open your paper and see, how many courts aer involved in how many VIP cases.

 
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