"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

‘All are equal but some are more equal than others’: None believes it more firmly than Vilasrao Deshmukh

Rule of law in democracy have two strands; one for those in positions of power who bends and breaks it with impunity and the other for lesser mortals. The right of a farmer in Vidarbha to file a complaint against the Shylocks of the neighbourhood has to be at the behest of the Chief Minister of the state, so says the order dated 5.6.2006. The Chief Minister called the District Collector to his home and issued a diktat that translated into the above order of the District collector to the S.P of the District that henceforth any complaint against Mr. Dilipkumar Sananda (MLA of the region) and his family members related to money lending has to be screened through a non- statutory body “the District Anti-Money Lending Committee and said Committee should obtain legal opinion of District Government Pleader and then only take decision on the same and take appropriate legal action accordingly.”

The High Court on a writ petition challenging the order found it abhorrent and slashed it down against which an SLP was filed and on which the current appeal stands (Civil Appeal No. 10605 Of 2010. Decided on 14/12/10). The Supreme Court used strong language against Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is presently the Union Minister for heavy Industries. Court did not mince words when it said that the “Chief Minister’s instructions are so incongruous and anachronistic, being in defiance of all logic and reason, that our conscience is deeply disturbed. We condemn the same in no uncertain terms.” The court slammed a cost of ten lakhs to be paid by the appellant to the State Legal Services Authority

Tail End: Interestingly appellant herein is the State of Maharashtra. Ironic it would be that the state will pay ten lakh from the exchequer which has the tax contribution of the same farmer who is the complainant. Next issue, will Vilasrao Deshmukh resign from ministership due to this adverse finding by the court? It might be too much to expect from the thick skinned politicians of the day.

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