We live in exciting times. The political potboiler is at its zenith with the BJP sweeping elections after elections and the Congress party trying every trick in the book to come back to power. Frankly, there can’t possibly be a more exciting time for any political observer and writer. But, as a citizen, the recent developments can be rather distressing.
The Congress party and its allies have decided to launch a ‘full frontal assault’ on the Judiciary. And this is not a first. Every time verdicts have gone against the Congress party or the Dynasty, they have undermined the Judiciary and abused the system. Who can forget what Indira Gandhi did when the Court barred her from contesting elections? She ushered in the Emergency period which is by far, the darkest period that the Indian democracy has suffered.
Who can forget “State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Raj Narain” case which was fought in the High Court? After Indira Gandhi’s 1971 electoral win, Narain filed a petition alleging that Indira Gandhi has used bribery, government machinery and other resources to gain an unfair advantage in the elections.
Owing to this petition, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractice, declared Indira’s win from Rae Bareilly null and void and having found her guilty of gross malpractice, barred her from contesting elections for 6 years. At that time, the court gave Congress 20 days to replace Indira Gandhi. Indira then got a stay order on 24th June 1975.
Indira Gandhi got the stay order on 24th June, the Emergency was declared on 25th June. Indira Gandhi imposed the emergency a day after she got the stay order in order to postpone impending elections and pass a bill that amended the law under the provisions of which she was held guilty by Justice Jagmohanlal.
Perhaps coming up with novel ways to undermine the Judiciary runs in the Dynasty blood.
But today, some questions must be asked of the Congress party and its President Rahul Gandhi. These questions must be asked because it is time someone breaks the silence, considering the Media, which seems to be bound by the ‘omerta’ never will.
The hypothesis for this article is fairly simple. If the Judiciary as an institution is compromised and has the potential to sell its soul to the Government in power now, it must have been so always, because institutions don’t change overnight.
In the early 2000s, Rahul Gandhi was accused of a heinous crime. Of raping a girl called Sukanya Devi in Amethi. He was accused of gang-raping the girl during a visit to his constituency. The High Court had then had tossed the case, acquitted him of all charges and calling the case malicious. The Court had also slapped costs of 10 lacs, including Rs. 5 Lacs on the SP MLA, Kishor Samrite, who had filed that case.
A Court bench had said,
“The allegation is without substance and without an iota of evidence, the reputation of respondent no 6 (Rahul Gandhi) has been damaged by the undesirable act of the petitioner (Samrite).”
The appeal against this verdict in the Supreme Court had also been dismissed. In fact, the Supreme Court had awarded Rahul Gandhi a compensation of Rs. 5 Lacs for “damage of reputation”.
In 2018, a similar verdict was passed. A rag of a magazine tried to create a fantasy tale to brand the natural death of Judge Loya as a murder. The insinuation was that since Loya presided over the Sohrabbudin case, Amit Shah had something to do with his death and that, it should be probed. Supreme Court passed a verdict and all hell broke loose. The Court observed :
There is no reason to disbelieve the sequence of events leading to the death as narrated by the four judicial officers namely Shrikant Kulkarni, Shriram Modak, R. Rathi and Vijay Kumar Barde and the assertions of Bombay High Court Justices Bhushan Gawai and Sunil Shukre.
The court said that the petition was a “full frontal attack on the independence of the Judiciary”. The bench also said that “there exists a case for initiating contempt proceedings against the petitioners and the lawyers representing the petition but is refraining from doing so”.
Congress’ official press release called it a “sad letter day in India’s history” and went on to reiterate the motivated, factually inaccurate points that the Supreme Court had already tossed out.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted :
Indians are deeply intelligent. Most Indians, including those in the BJP, instinctively understand the truth about Mr Amit Shah. The truth has its own way of catching up with people like him.
He insinuated that the court was incorrect and that Justice had been denied. That Amit Shah was responsible for the death of Judge Loya, even though the court had called the entire case false and motivated.
One can’t really miss the parallels in the judgements delivered. The 2012 verdict exonerated Rahul Gandhi of abduction and gang rape and the judgement that denied an investigation into the death of Judge Loya.
1. Political motivation
In both cases, the petitioners were severely politically motivated. In the 2012 rape case against Rahul Gandhi and his friends, the petitioner was a Samajwadi Party MLA. In 2012, SP and Congress were political rivals especially as far as Uttar Pradesh was concerned.
In the Judge Loya case, Indira Jaising is a known Congress loyalist. She represented Navy Admiral L. Ramdas. Ramdas was the ‘internal lokpal of AAP’. He was also a part of the group that had filed a PIL in Supreme Court against the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as COAS. Interestingly, his daughter Kavita Ramdas is a former member of the Global Development Program Advisory Panel to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She was also appointed as a representative to New Delhi by the Ford Foundation.
Tehseen Poonawalla is Nehruvian Congressman apart from being related to Robert Vadra. Bombay Lawyers’ Association is a repeat offender as far as intervening in such cases is concerned. They had also intervened in the Sohrabuddin encounter case. Prashant Bhushan is the former AAP member and lifelong “activist” who had sought clemency for Yakub Memon”.
2. Both cases hinged on published articles
In the gang-rape case against Rahul Gandhi, it was said that the website that originally posted these allegations against Rahul Gandhi received a legal notice after which the article was taken down. There was also news that the website that originally posted these allegations had some foreign connection.
In the Judge Loya case, the allegations also appeared on a website first and the glaring loopholes in the entire story were severely criticised by the Court. It is, of course, a different matter that the magazine hasn’t received any legal notice to the best of my knowledge. It is, however, telling that both stories were slammed as factually inaccurate by the courts themselves.
3. In both cases, the Court slammed the petitioners
As explained above, the Court slammed the petitioners in both the cases. The only difference? In the Rahul Gandhi rape case, the petitioner was fined and investigated. In the Judge Loya case, they appeared on television to malign the Supreme Court and the judgement delivered. Perhaps there can be no greater indicator of the famed ‘Congress ecosystem’.
Given the similarities between the two cases, it is intriguing that Congress seemed to have accepted the verdict of the 2012 case, but not the 2018 case. If it is the Congress’ and Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that the Judiciary as an institution bows to the Government in power and hence the Loya case was tossed out, it must also concede that something similar could have happened back in 2012? Which would mean the Judiciary declared Rahul Gandhi innocent owing to political pressure from the government in power, which was Congress?
Many believed that Rahul Gandhi was indeed guilty of the rape charges that were hurled against him. Just as some today believe that there was foul play involved in Judge Loya’s death. If Congress professes to represent the “people’s voice”, owing to which is it even bringing an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India, why did it not then represent the same “people’s voice” who thought Rahul Gandhi raped Sukanya Devi?
The dichotomy is glaring and painful. Congress has often undermined the Judiciary when it didn’t suit their narrative, and a game of narrative this all is. In both cases, the Court did its job. Pronounced a verdict based on lack of evidence and the political motivation of petitioners. How then does one judgement hold water and the other doesn’t? How then does one case deem hailing of the Judiciary and the other inspires a malign campaign extending to bringing an impeachment motion?
Everytime someone brings up the Sukanya rape case, the standard defence of the Congress is that it is defamatory since the Apex Court pronounced Rahul innocent. They can’t possibly decry detractors in one case because they believed in the Judicial process and become the detractor in another case because the Judiciary’s decision doesn’t help their agenda.
The sacrosanct truth is this – If Congress is hell-bent on proving Judge Loya’s death was a murder because the story appeared on some digital portal and “the people” are asking questions, they must also rally for Rahul Gandhi to be proven guilty of abducting and raping Sukanya. On the flip side, if they accepted the verdict in 2012 with grace, it is time they do the same now.
It is said that hypocrisy, the lie, is the true sister of evil, intolerance and cruelty and while the truth often offends the hypocrite, Rahul Gandhi and his party can’t escape it. Not for too long, anyway.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017