SC upholds power of people & PIL

Posted on February 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

NEW DELHI: For the two protagonists – legal eagle-turned-activist Prashant Bhushan and academic-turned-politician Dr Subramanian Swamy – Thursday’s landmark Supreme Courtjudgment signify two very different things. For Bhushan, it shows the power of well researched Public Interest Litigation (PIL). For Dr Swamy, the judgement showed that a private citizen has a multi-dimensional role in a thriving democracy, which includes the possibility of challenging the government if necessary. 

The importance of Bhushan, and those who supported him, and Dr Swamy was not lost on the Supreme Court as it delivered the historic order. “But for the vigilance of some enlightened citizens who held important constitutional and other positions and discharge their duties in larger public interest and Non Governmental Organizations who have been constantly fighting for clean governance and accountability of the constitutional institutions, unsuspecting citizens and the Nation would never have known how scarce natural resource spared by the Army has been grabbed by those who enjoy money power and who have been able to manipulate the system,” the judgment said. 

The fundamental driving force behind both Bhushan and Dr Swamy, behind the PIL before the Supreme Court on 2G scam, was their concern about scarce natural resources being given away at throwaway prices to select companies by those in power who manipulated the entire system. 

“The judgment certainly makes PILs much more respectable and shows that a well researched, properly documented PIL filed in genuine public interest will be considered favorably by courts,” said Bhushan, a veteran lawyer who has been behind several high profile PILs that has shaken the system in recent years. Taking after his father former law minister Shanti Bhushan’s tradition of fighting public causes, Bhushan has scored yet another milestone in PIL activism with Thursday judgement. 

He believes what made his petition stronger was the fact that it was supported by a host of eminent personalities from all walks of life including three former Chief Election Commissioners, a former CVC, a former Director General of Police and a senior journalist. “The court saw merit in our demands and we are satisfied that the rule of law has been upheld. Scarce national resource was given to private companies by a dishonest minister,” he said. 

For Dr Swamy, who doesn’t have a law degree but argues his own cases, the SC orders on 2G including Thursday historic order, were a vindication of the role of an ordinary citizen in Indian democracy. “Both the judgments relating to the 2G matter delivered by the Supreme Court make the role of a concerned private citizen multi dimensional. SC has rejected the claims of stalwarts of this government that a citizen can’t approach the Prime Minister directly for sanction of prosecution and the court has even laid down a time frame within which such requests have to be decided,” Dr Swamy said. 

Dr Swamy pointed out that “SC verdict is a welcome corrective action. Everyone had warned including the CAG and the CVC but the government overlooked it, it is a collective failure of the government that 2G licences were issued in an illegal and corrupt manner and nobody felt that the Cabinet should be called and the licences scrapped. It is the best possible judgment that could be possible for the three judges. The country can be justifiably proud of Supreme Court.”

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