As a law abiding and an informed citizen of this country, I think I am well within my rights to say the following on the observations made by the Supreme Court judges on two different cases. One was told in the context of granting bail to the corporate honchos in the 2G case and the other was in the context of refusing to an early hearing on the issue of sacking of contract labourers in Tamilnadu.
The first one pertains to a remark by the judges that the accused could not be denied bail on the reason that the community's sentiment was against them. Cho Ramaswamy made a fine analysis of this observation in his editorial in the recent issue of Thuglak and said that this amounts to finding fault with the wisdom of the Trial court and the High court in assessing the situation before denying bail. It is not right to say that the Trail court judge, Justice Saini played to the sentiments of the people and therefore refused to grant bail to the accused.
In this context, the judgement delivered yesterday in the Madras High court rejecting the petition of the DMK men on staying the probe on the New Secretariat building made a significant point that when the Supreme court sets aside the order of a lower court, that can not be considered as a judgement against a particular judge. But the SC observation on 2G bail case creates an impression that it did find fault with the Trial court judge of playing to the people's sentiments. At a time when the people's faith in the CBI is fast eroding, this kind of an observation by the SC makes us worried whether the Judiciary, the last hope of the people would at least make an impression that Justice is seen to be delivered.
Whether the SC bench that delivered this observation agrees or not, the common man on the streets of Tamilnadu did not like the release of Kanimozhi on bail. It is not that she would tamper with the evidence; her father who would have already done that. But what we are worried is how he would capitalise on her release and brain wash the people. The ordinary folks do think that one by one, all the accused persons would come out and start their old ways. The events until now have not given the people the confidence that the law works in our country when it comes to powerful politicians and money bags.
If this issue is about the observation on the court playing to people's sentiments, the next issue is about the court playing to the sentiment of the petitioner. This case pertains to the sacking of 12,600 contract labourers called as "makkal nala-p- paniyaalargal" (people's welfare workers) by the TN government. If a survey is taken at ground zero where these workers are involved, they would get a response that this is a good step towards weeding out corruption. These workers were not recruited through due process of recruitment but were appointed to work for the DMK bosses. This is happening every time DMK comes to power. There have been recommendations to abolish their posts. But the DMK would rather like to cultivate them as their men to be useful during elections. The locals say that most of them got the jobs through bribes and take back the money by misuse of funds allotted for the NREGA and other schemes in which they are employed. It is significant to note that Jairam Ramesh, the minister for Rural development has called for an audit of these schemes in the States including Tamilnadu. That would reveal the extent of corruption in the previous DMK regime involving these workers.
But what I want to say in this context is that the SC Bench has made some harsh remarks taking exception to the removal of these workers. It has asked whether there is any rule of law in Tamilnadu. This is the contention of the petitioners. For every act of the Government under Jayalalithaa, the DMK makes a huge fuss saying that there is no rule of law. Hearing the same comment from the Bench, it makes me think whether the Bench is playing to the sentiments of the petitioners. Did the bench even think how strong these words were while the reality picture in the State is that people are convinced that rule of law is finally in place after 5 long years of DMK rule.
We were able to cast our votes without any fear and disruption in the local body elections held recently. The same rule of law was not in place in the last time these elections were held. Why no court raised the same question the last time when not even 20% of the people were allowed to cast their votes? It was a very well known secret that votes were bought with money by the DMK in the last few elections in the State. Why no court took cognisance of that and asked whether any rule of law was in place in TN then?
DMK has done so much harm to the State such that every act of Jayalaithaa is going to look like a reversal of what DMK did. We want that to happen and we have given the mandate for Jayalalithaa to do that. Today Stalin's name is implicated in some land- grab case. DMK supporters will call it vendetta politics, but common man will not say so. He will ask why the delay in booking him, or is it only this much Stalin was found to have swindled.
The media and journalists of Tamilnadu are perceived as DMK sympathisers by the people at large. So let them say whatever they want – like what they said on Uniform syllabus, land grab cases, lack of improvement on power situation, new secretariat, on assets case of jayalaithaa etc – still people gave her a resounding victory in the local body elections. Because they think that Jayalalithaa had the State's welfare utmost in her mind and more importantly she is genuine.
This faith of the people is best summarized in the opinion given by a group of traders who did not pull down the shutters yesterday in Chennai in protest against FDI. They contended that there was no reason to do so when Jayalalithaa has taken up the issue with the UPA government. When Jayalalithaa takes up an issue, the people can feel calm and go about their works. She will go to its logical ends and get it done. She is not a Karunanidhi to do double speak.
Weeding out corruption means many pin pricks for the DMK.
Let her do that even if it looks like 'no-rule of law'.
What is 'no-rule of law' for the court is 'rule of law' for the people.
Whose mistake is it?