Despite our experience with sensitive cases relating to custodial deaths, encounter and riot cases, atrocities committed by police officers and sometimes, the majority community, we were ill-prepared for the blatant and unprecedented hostility we faced in this particular matter. We were intimidated within court premises, but could not seek any recourse for the same. We had strong reason to believe that our client, Rubabuddin, was compelled to make certain decisions for the case under duress.
And the leftward shift in Europe is no electoral capriciousness or mere fickle-minded mood swing of the electorate. Rather, they are firmly rooted in the material conditions of austerity, not only in Europe but even to some extent in America. Ten years of austerity as a result of the Eurozone crisis has left the population reeling. Japan has been sinking under the weight of austerity for more than a decade.
Those of us who are taken in by the idea of minimum qualifications must recognise that it is a slippery slope, the next milestone of which is to deny illiterate the right to vote, the next those of a certain religion, caste, gender etc. This is no different from denying people the right to access a village well.
The purchase of the 36 aircraft was a unilateral decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that the decision was taken without even consulting with the then Defence Minister of the country — Manohar Parrikar. That exactly is the violation. Did the Court forget to ask the Government to submit the process followed for the procurement of 36 aircraft? If so, on what confidence and based on what evidence did the Court stat in Para 22 that “Broadly, the processes have been followed”?
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.