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Programme versus pogrom—DPSP require principled people

Misunderstanding incorrectly hardly leads to understanding correctly.

Shafeeq R. Mahajir

DPSP can be understood variously. Or misunderstood. Does not depend on what one professes. Depends on what one wants to do. What one professes is heard or read, usually written by script writers unaware of statesmanship who merely boast a capacity for linguistic calisthenics. So, what one hears or reads can be safely deleted from memory. What remains is what one does. One reads DPSPs as Directive Principles of State Policy. Another as Destructive Processes of Systematic Perversion.

DPSPs form a comprehensive socio-economic-cum-political programme: what one reads them as determines whether what one delivers is a modern state promoting welfare of people or a perversion of everything Constitution-makers held sacred.

DPSPs are non-justiciable: not enforceable by courts for non-honouring. Surprising, because the Constitution itself declares these are “fundamental in governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws”. DPSPs embody ideals the State should keep in mind while formulating policies, enacting laws, and create a moral obligation on the State to follow these as mandatory. Moral obligation? Remind me to laugh.

B R Ambedkar: “Directive Principles are like the instrument of instructions issued to Governors-General …by the British Government under Government of India Act 1935… merely another name for instrument of instructions… to the legislature and the executive.”

What instructions did the Constituent Assembly representing will of the people issue to Parliament and Government? What was the implicit instruction to the Judiciary as to what its role would be if and when the State violated citizens’ rights?

If Parliament acted improperly the Judiciary was to step in and halt it in its tracks. No naughty laws. If a judge turned rogue Parliament was to impeach him or her and clean up the judiciary. No naughty judgements. Many good people sat in that Constituent Assembly, with lots of goodwill and good intentions. Good intentions: the very stuff with which the road to hell is paved, we hear.

The Devil, however, was not allowed entry. A rather bad thing, come to think of it, because if at least one Machiavellian mind was present, a few insidious questions would have been asked …drawing gasps of horror: kyaa bakwaas kar rahe hain aap?

What if two third of every House decided to buck the system? Dimaagh kkharaab ho gayaa ? How dare you suggest such a thing? Shame on you! Out you go. OUT!

What if several judges toed an ideology? This guy still here? Marshalls!  MARSHALLS! Nikaalo issku ! Faurann !! Darwaaze pe pehraa rakho: phir aane na paaye.

DPSPs. Comprehensive socio-economicand political programme for a modern democratic State aiming to realise high ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Programmes, when implemented, in letter and spirit, are good. When the letter remains and the spirit evaporates, moral moorings no longer steer direction. Direction is then set by an agenda.

Are DPSPs outdated? Consider: 1976 four Directive Principles were actually added by 42nd Amendment. There were no deletions… Added were requirements to (a) secure healthy development of children (b) promote equal justice and provide free legal aid to poor (c) secure participation of workers in management of industries and (d)protect environment, safeguard forests and wildlife. In 1978 the 44th Amendment added requirement to (e) minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities. 2002 added (f) elementary education elevating it as fundamental right, 2011 adding (g) promoting voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies. All DPSPs being retained intact establishes, reiterates their continued relevance.

DPSPs, “instructions to legislature and executive”, therefore remain intact. If they remain, how and why can they not be implemented? If ignored, how can the judiciary stay silent? I hear you: “Hey, you yourself just said they are non-justiciable !” Damn right they are not. However, their violation violates fundamental rights of the citizens, and those, excuse me, are very much justiciable. Read Arts. 32, 226. Comprehendo ?

By the way, what is “non-justiciable”? It simply means one cannot approach the court for its non-implementation but DPSPs still must guide the Supreme Court decide whether a policy is unconstitutional or not. Same thing, no? Policy, mind you!  Law can be innocuous but malevolent policy causes biased, partisan, selective, malicious implementation! We see that every day, don’t we? So, policy causative of biased, partisan, selective, malicious implementation can be: you got it ! “Unconstitutional”.

I know the SC can hold policy unconstitutional. Whether it would, is different. Ought to. It stayed broadcast of that rubbish, hate-mongering, rift-creating, divisive, demonising ‘UPSC Jihad’ show, as ‘disservice to nation’, as ‘insidious’,with telecast intent and purpose, vilifying Muslims.

All filth columnists know Muslims have not infiltrated civil services or any services, and attempt to deflect focus from perceptible infiltration of divisive anti-Constitutionalists and Minority-haters in most services. Filth columnists seek to communalise presence of Muslims in the civil services, while pontificating bull-shit (sorry,political advice) to Muslims is “join the mainstream”.

Take up employment, integrate: its infiltration ! Miyan, sambhalna: appoint nahin huay toh nikammay, naakaaray…kamiyaab huay toh qaabil-e-aeteraaz ! Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  I have a question: What was the police doing? Does anyone need an FIR? Paagal ho gayaa re ? Yeh Markaz hai kyaa ? Yahaan FIR kaisaa hotha re?

And the Court: “At this stage, prima facie, it appears …the object, intent and purpose of the programme is to vilify the Muslim community with an insidious attempt to portray them as part of a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil services.” “There are factually incorrect statements made in the programme regarding the upper age and number of attempts for Muslims in UPSC exams.” The Court noted the show’s “divisive potential”. “Any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with great disfavour by this court which is a custodian of constitutional rights.” “Must be?” Then why wait? Viewed with great disfavour? How is displeasure manifested, disfavour be made apparent?

Let me think aloud: I see attempt to vitiate atmosphere, I know what the consequences will be. I do nothing. I have power to ask the State why a licence is not being suspended. I do not. I have power to direct an investigation. I do not. I have power to direct the Broadcasters Association to ensure nothing is aired that has as its “object, intent or purpose to vilify any community and/or attempt to portray them as part of a conspiracy”. I do not.  What is dereliction of duty?

I have serious reservations concluding inaction or inadequate action as indicative of either great disfavour or even disfavour simpliciter.The court did suggest forming a committee of eminent people to put in place standards for the electronic media. Badly needed, we all know… had enough of screams, rants and demonising…but please define “eminent”.  Else the committee will feature people whose only claim to eminence will be their eminently saleable souls, consciences, minds, vocal chords.

One judge, noting power of media to target community, damage reputation or tarnish image, asked how it could be controlled. Easy, judge. Pass orders. Cancel licences. Seal buildings.  Confiscate assets. Charge officials who ought to have prosecuted the scum but did not.  Haul them all to the Courtroom. Name and shame. Send a message. Easy, if one wants to do it.

Counsel for the show’s chief editor claims it is an “investigative report” concerned with national security.  Wow!  Brilliant, what?!  Muslims in Civil Services are threat to national security!  I suggest that not Muslims, but divisive filth in any field undermines national stability and integrity, mocking at Constitutional ideals.  And it is the judiciary’s, the politician’s, the policeman’s, every citizen’s Constitutional duty, to cherish and honour Constitutional ideals.

Adding his two bit, the SG said regulating media would be “disastrous for democracy”. Hear that?!  SG is counsel for the State!  Is this a secular State telling the SC through its SG “Don’t regulate hate-speech? Don’t regulate demonisation of minorities? Let the damage be done?” Does it mean let disaffection spread, enhance mutual distrust, sow suspicion, till bullets again be fired, communities clash, bodies fall, unleashing civil unrest…? Though the Heavens may fall, under no circumstances should a Court regulate media! Standing ovation, please !

One judicial remark was channels should have debates where “others should be allowed to speak” as against anchors only! We know what filth the reference is to. By the way I must withdraw my question earlier asked “What is the police doing ?” Statement of several hundred obviously misguided souls shows policemen are extremely busy: “Students, activists being arrested based on forced confessions, say over 600 citizens.” Signatories pointed out the government was shielding people who had provoked violence with their incendiary speeches. Tauba Tauba. Hukoomath pe ilzaam ! Jail mein daalo saalaon ko…!

They called it “biased investigation”, said police was arresting students, artists and journalists on fabricated/forced confessions, said detainees’ only “crime” was dissenting, cited “clear attempt to create a culture of fear” and “a direct attack on the right to critical speech and expression…” So dissent is now a crime.

One more retired judge, A P Shah, called out and castigated the Government for what it was doing to democratic institutions. Judge after judge has done this. Serving judges either did not hear, do not agree, or cannot or do not wish to intervene, to take a stand. What we do, or do not, announces what we stand for. Or stand against. Martin Luther King it was who said something about silence of friends.

Whether instructing government, judiciary, police or media, or organs of governance, Directive Principles, not being self-executory, require committed, principled people.  Not a “committee of eminent people.”

Jai Hind.

Shafeeq R. Mahajir is a Hyderabad-based nationally known lawyer

This post was last modified on September 21, 2020 11:09 pm

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