2018 has showcased the inconsistency with which the Supreme Court chooses to interfere in the policy decisions or to monitor investigations, especially pertaining to the ruling regime. As the year comes to an end, it is hoped that the judiciary will be more consistent in its decision-making, decry the use of ‘sealed cover’ in adjudication, and stand up to the Executive bullying, whether in judicial appointments or in administration.
Unlike what the Central Government hopes to secure with its application, the Rafale judgment now stands vitiated by reason of what is said in para 25; it is one of the critical pillars supporting the judgment. Therefore, the outcome of the judgment can no longer be the same should para 25 lose those critical conclusions of “facts” that never took place. Hence, the Court will have to summarily remove its own judgment and rehear the issue.
December 21, 2018 was certainly a sad day for Rubabuddin Sheikh. It has been a long journey for him, yet he has not got any justice for his brother. He now plans to challenge the decision and appeal to the Supreme Court. At a systemic level, there are grave questions of impunity of police in fake encounters, especially at the behest of the politically powerful, apart from the safety of witnesses in political crimes.
The open letter signed by 83 retired civil servants has really roused the conscience of the nation since what is happening in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Raj these days, is the curtain-raiser of what is going to be the nature of Hindu Rashtra or New India by 2022 what the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is saying.
Grandstanding about surgical strikes could have been avoided. Public pronouncement of the strikes and resultant aggressive retaliatory actions by the Pakistanis has in fact put authorities under more pressure. On one hand expectations of masses have been raised and on the other the locals living along the border are finding their daily life totally disrupted due to daily exchange of fire.
Prison walls cannot stop imagination and expression, however much they try to curb freedom of expression. Varavara Rao, the renowned poet and public intellectual, is again behind bars, this time round as an under-trial prisoner in Pune’s Yerawada Central Prison in the infamous Bhima-Koregaon or Urban Naxal case. In his public life spanning about 60 years, the 78-year-old poet spent more than seven years in various prisons in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, beginning with his first arrest in 1973.
The way the Supreme Court bench endorsed the decision making process involving the Prime Minister is astonishing. This is the only area gone into by the three judges and the judgment clearly shows that they have ignored some of the major stages of the process involving serious violations on the part of the Indian Government. The apex Court has failed to perform its supreme duty as the custodian of the nation.
This is a joint statement by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan in response to the Supreme Court's December 14, 2018 verdict on the Rafale deal. All three were petitioners, along with a few others, in a batch of public interest litigation demanding a probe by a joint parliamentary committee into the Rafale deal, wherein 36 Rafale fighter jets were bought instead of 126 aircrafts as per the earlier deal, a decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, much like his choice of offset partner in Anil Ambani's brand new defence company.
For the Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition, especially the Congress has to do two things — first, the Party’s election manifesto must reflect the aspirations of the masses, especially the young, unemployed and the farmers, and it should form the core of the common minimum programme of the anti-BJP front, and second, the Congress must learn to act as first among the equals among the Opposition parties and treat the smaller parties with compassion and dignity so that the anti-BJP front can be sustained on a long term basis.
On December 12, 2018, the Supreme Court asked Justice Bedi (Retd.) as to whether he had shared the reports submitted to the Court with other members of the monitoring committee. The Court also directed that the report shall not be shared with the petitioners until further order. The Gujarat Government contended that the report was unilateral. The case has been adjourned and the hearing will resume after the winter vacations.
Prime Minister Modi and the BJP national president Amit Shah tried every trick to win the elections in its so called strongholds and mobilised massive resources and RSS muscle power. Even in the last part of the campaign, the PM stooped too low by openly telling in the meetings that Sonia Gandhi and her family would be named by the extradited Agusta Westland deal middleman as the recipient of the bribes.
The family of the slain eight-year-old girl, which has been subjected to a social and administrative boycott, pleads with the government to provide them a piece of land elsewhere in lieu of their land in Rasana village. Many of their own community members, according to the family, have started acting distant after the incident. The civil administration — in keeping with the majority sentiment — also seems to have imposed a boycott on the family.