23 June, 2021

An Ungrateful Nation

In the end, all the judgement has done is throw into stark relief the sea of black money and crime on which the Indian political system floats.

An Ungrateful Nation

For some years an activist judiciary has been struggling to fill the vacuum in administration created by the collapse of the executive branch of the central government. By and large its initiatives, to close down polluting industries, regulate the use of child labour in workshops, clean the air of Delhi, resettle the residents of unauthorised shanty colonies or clean up the rotting garbage that disfigures and spreads disease in the capital, have been welcomed by the people. It is doubtless in the same spirit of public service that the Delhi High Court convicted the former prime minister of India, Narasimha Rao, of bribery, and sentenced him to three years in prison. But on this occasion the high court has exceeded its brief, for it has interpreted the law in a manner that is simply not defensible.

My quibble is not with the details of the judgement but the charge itself. To put it bluntly, no court should have entertained this charge, let alone handed down a guilty verdict. For the action for which Rao was convicted, of arranging for a sum of money to be paid to members of...

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