A large section of the Indian population is completely at wits when they are asked to explain how our country runs. They say it is a miracle and the most plausible answer is that God must be an Indian. Well surely, this is a humorous answer but not an acceptable one.
Some people say that it is the job of our elected representatives i.e. the political class to run the country. Others explain that it is the Indian Administrative Service that has the actual task of implementing recommendations, planning, execution, etc. After all that is why we have the IAS. Some say there is some magic happening via the public – private partnership that turns the wheels of the country. There are many more reasons and everyone is right to a certain extent because everyone has a role to play.
However in the last few years, there is another important group that has more or less brought some sanity to our country. They are the judiciary. The judiciary in my opinion has been the driving force behind the “only good things” that we hear today. Not a single day passes off without us hearing headlines like the following:
- Judge raps the state government for inaction on resolution ‘XYZ’
- Judge pulls up the Municipal Corporation on ignoring a court order to demolish illegal buildings
- Based on the a PIL filed by Mr. ABC, the court has fined the organization for violating XYZ norms.
- Judge orders Municipal Corporation to fix the roads based on PIL filed by “Save Your Spinal Cord” organization.
If you do not believe me, read the papers for yourself. The only piece of good news that we seem to read in the papers of late, has been delivered by the Judges. Not by the Politicians. Not by the IAS officers. Not even by our cricket team, but by the Judges. In all of these cases, you find that someone who has violated the law, forgets their responsibility, who is unjust is being pulled up by the judges. It looks like the only people that we can trust now to give us some justice and stop the spate of all wrong doings going on in the name of law is the Judiciary themselves.
This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good thing because several wrongs are being turned into right. Or in other words, people indulging in ‘wrong’ are being set ‘right’. It is a bad thing because judges should not be burdened by every little complaint that people have. They cannot act all the time like a school master punishing school children for misbehaving. We already know that there is a huge backlog of cases in India. And this is only going to get worse. And frankly speaking, the judiciary today is doing the job that our government today should be executing.
But there does not seem to be an option if you want justice or action to be taken instead of the apathy shown by people who are actually supposed to do work. As an example, in case the roads are bad in your locality and that has caused a backache to you, the chances of your approaching the court via a PIL rather than contacting your local ward/representative might result in some action actually be taken.
Why have we reached such a state? In our democracy, we have lost complete faith in our “Leaders” and our “Administrative Services”. The reason I believe was best summed up by Abraham Lincoln, who said “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time“. This is precisely what has happened. We are tired and do not expect the people in charge to provide us results, hence we take the other course i.e. to approach the courts. Our leaders and Administrative Services have forgotten the golden rule that if you delay in responding, you quickly lose respect. Our government institutions are sound in principle and statement of purpose but poor on execution. The people inside these institutions should be doing their job and not the judges who have other things to attend to. The judges on the other hand must be content at the inefficiency of the bureaucracy cause it has finally given them the reason to bring about change through their affirmative action.
I conclude with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, who said “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only objective of a good government.” The government and its administrative arms either pay no need to that or are trying to. In the meanwhile, as a strict headmaster, the Judiciary is busy making the government understand that.