How a Supreme Court judge exposed a self-centered government


Rakesh Bhatnagar

Sometimes the restrained observations of a judge aren’t understood by an indefensible and yet defiant government. Justice B Sudershan Reddy penned down two significant verdicts just a few days before his retirement from the Supreme Court. These verdicts give in-depth insights about a self-centred government.

His ruling on black money stripped the government’s committee – that was stuffed with bureaucrats – of its superiority. Instead, a special investigations team comprising, among others, two former apex court judges, would be in overall charge of the investigations.

He had reasons to do so. He narrated the saga of depleting constitutionalism in the country, and, in his own literary style, mildly castigated governments of different hues that have acted against the interests of people. Their inaction resulted in the growth of terrorism which gained strength for bloody groups had been financed by ‘unknown sources’ that could also include the ill-gotten billions that Indians have stashed for years in some foreign banks.

Similarly, the court made observations on Salwa Judum, a self-styled state financed and aided groups of civilians who are used to fight Maoists or naxals in the violence-hit states such as Chhattisgarh.

But the ruling on black money has hit the government most. In fact, if one carefully reads the judgments and doesn’t pretend that he’s not understood their nuances, it will make clear that the government has failed in its constitutional duty to govern.

However, it requires enormous moral strength to accept the responsibility or even to rectify past mistakes which have been pointed out in certain mandates.

It’s estimated that just one Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan owed Rs70,000 crore in income tax to government. He is also suspected to be a hawala king who could have transmitted a major chunk of $8.04 billion unaccounted Indian money in foreign banks.

When Khan was released on bail, Union government’s EDdidn’t contest and let him go. In fact, Khan should have been arrested and interrogated long time ago. But government waited for a court directive to beak its inertia.

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