13 April, 2021

Cleaning Up The Stables

The Supreme Court chastises the government, tells it to lay off the investigative agencies

Cleaning Up The Stables

BY all yardsticks, it was a judicial coup. Last week, when a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice S.P. Bharucha pressured the government to reinstate M.K. Bezbaruah as enforcement director, just a month after he was summarily transferred from the post, the message was clear: in the balance of power among the arms of the state, the judiciary would like to set the rules. In effect, this means that the courts are once again ready to take on administrative functions and insulate investigating agencies from political interference.

The government's volte-face on Bezbaruah is telling in many respects. It has brought to the fore the inexperience of the BJP government and the lack of coordination between the law ministry and the PMO. And at a political level, a bid to subvert the system by arbitrarily transferring a bureaucrat has been exposed. The result? After decades of an uneasy balance between the judges on one side and an obdurate legislature-executive combine on the other, things have again reached a flashpoint. The change,...

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