Many Americans hate George Bush for Iraq. That hate rises as the body bags keep piling piling up. Three days ago, two CBS journalists were blown up by a car bomb in Baghdad. A third one barely survived. The journalists were in Iraq out of choice. The scores of dead American soldiers were not. What option does the American public have ? Very little. They elected George Bush. In a democracy, you've got to follow the process.

The student community is rightfully angry with the Government. Its protests have had some impact, but nowhere as enough. That only goes to show how thick skinned our politicians can be. Particularly where they perceive a larger votebank connect. We can protest, oppose, picket and shout slogans. Or wear black badges.

We can keep agitating against the ruling political class or certain members of it. We can fight for their removal. Or ask them to pull back. Or boycott them at every turn. And keep up the protests. But they too represent the will of the majority. Whether or not you agree with it. Yet, you can keep the pressure up.

SC Is `Highest' Authority

The courts work a little differently. The Supreme Court is the `highest' authority of the land. They are a part of the same democratic system and process the politicians belong to. And they represent the final `voice' in many issues. Disregarding that voice is tantamount to contempt of court. And contempt of court is a serious matter. And the SC has a habit of flexing its muscles to remind citizens of this.

I may not agree (and have not) with some SC rulings or judgements in the past. But the democratic process which allows me the freedom to express my views also constrains me from speaking out against the Supreme Court. Arundhati Roy discovered this to her chagrin in March 2002 when the Supreme Court jailed her for a day for criminal contempt of court.

Much as I disliked the Court's treatment of Roy, I realise that a polity like ours has to respect some authority at some point. Else you will have anarchy. The adventerous lot within us may desire that too that but its not such a great idea. A somewhat functioning democracy (as some would describe the State of India) is better than one that has collapsed totally.

Courts Work, Sometimes !

So, to conclude, if the Supreme Court tells you to stop protesting, my suggestion is you should. If you build up your case well, the Court can help get justice. In the past, they've demonstrated the ability to delve dispassionately into detail. And arrive at workable solutions. But taking on the Court for no reason except to convey a sense of distrust against all authority may not be the best idea. Not at this point of time. Not on the issue of reservations.


Balaji said…
I agree to what you say to an extend. Do you think that the court will be able to give a solution for this present scenario, knowing very well how our judicial system works. if they are any way half as good as they claim to be, there won't be so many cases in our courts isnt it? For eg. The supreme court have banned bandh's in India. But does it work? Ask any one in Kerala, I am sure he will say it does not, because political parties are innovative, if not progressive. Now we have harthals, where all the establishments are closed down. I do beleive that justice will be done, but will it be implemented by our govt. is any body's guess.
My idea of free speech and everything else in the constitution somehow is in direct opposition to the archaic rules concerning contempt of court. I can't say that the court system is good in the US or other democratic countries but one is not barred from dissenting with a ruling of the court there. Just because one dissents against the court does not mean that the entire system will collapse and we will have a state of anarchy or that the dissenter has a grand plan to de-stablize the country. A civilized democracy should not and must not be afraid of dissent, it forms the backbone of civil society. But, if i am to gather whats been happening around India a lot (riots, religeous clashes, hartals and Bandhs forced by one political party or the other to suit their purpose) and tell myself that I live in a civilized democracy, I'd be fooling myself. Perhaps thats the reason why Mr. Govind says that the best thing to do is to obey the rule of the SC. Lets not agree with the ruling if we don't like it, but, until we become a real civilized democracy, perhaps we need someone to whip us once in a while. Lets find other ways to keep the issue on the front burner.
Anonymous said…
The UPA dispensation at the Centre is likely to bring in a legislation to legitimize reservation rather than heed the SC ruling, as they have done on many previous occasions.This govt is brazen ,immoral and a lawless one.They will surely find a way of circumventing the SC judgement.After all only their kith and kin stand to gain from reservations!
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