Judicial angst; Elderly China; Looting artworks

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Opinion Watch

Judicial angst

Two days after Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju wrote to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud for inducting a government nominee in the Collegium, the Supreme Court has gone public with its communication with the Centre on appointment of judges. This has revealed that the government refused to accept the Collegium recommendations for Saurabh Kirpal because of his sexual orientation, Somasekhar Sundaresan and R John Sathyan, for they in the past had been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The Pioneer in an Editorial has called the development dangerous, arguing that the tension between the judiciary and the government is only deepening. The Noida-based daily has also opined that the government not accepting Kirpal’s elevation amounts to a social reactionary attitude. Kirpal has a gay Swiss partner, it has come out in the public domain, which is a red-flag for the government. The daily has counselled the Supreme Court to act in urgency to calm the fraying tempers, while reminding the Justice Chandrachud too had spoken in the past of the need for a relook of the Collegium System, which is at the centre of storm, as government seeks undoing the practice of the judges appointing judges.

The Supreme Court is also indulging in “pick and choose” to work the public perception to protect its fiefdom. It chooses to make communication public, yet rejects all demands to bring itself to the scrutiny of the Right to Information Act (RTI). The judiciary needs to shed the British era seclusion and fiefdom mindset. The government may be warned that attack on the independence of judiciary will amount to weakening of democracy.

Elderly China

The Chinese population has declined even after the Communist regime sought to encourage the people to accept the two-child norm unveiled in 2016. Now, China is faced with the prospects of an ever growing elderly population, while the economy is in a tailspin and workers on warpath with the Xi Jijnping army on the street.

The Hindu in an Editorial opined that this is the second occasion that the Chinese population declined, first being in 1961 during four years of famine and also during the midst of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ campaign of Mao. The Chennai-based daily gave an account of the Chinese announcement that the births declined by a whopping 10 per cent last year – 9.56 million. After factoring in deaths of 10.41 million, the population dipped by 855,000 in 2022. The daily sized up the demographic profile, stating that the working age population (16-59 years) declined by 75 million to 875 million; 60 plus population went up by 30 million to 280 million (peak by 2050 at 487 million, 35 per cent of population).

The greying population is a global phenomenon, which is led by industrialised world (Japan, Europe), which is being followed by China and India too will come in the picture soon. India should be policy ready to avoid the pain of Japan and China.

Looting artworks

The Telegraph in an Editorial has given an account of the loot of the artwork from Ukraine by the invading Russian army, with over 50 sites of cultural significance destroyed so far. With this the Kolkata-based daily turned the spotlight on plunder of colonialism, reminding that Germany recently returned 21 Benin Bronzes stolen from African countries. The British unabashedly refuses to return Koh-i-noor, embellished on the crown of the king. The daily also stated that identity erosion, as seen in South America after Spanish Rule, is another fallout.

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