Judicial sanction to ‘predatory’ ED; Maddening media bankruptcy; Corruption cases conundrum

PMLA cases in recent years, CJI NV Ramana, West Bengal sacked minister Partha Chatterjee
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Opinion Watch


Majoritarianism essentially is short on intellect.

In times of Executive cruising with excessive sense of power, other wings of democracy find afflicted with self-doubt, and suffer from vision deficit.

The three-judge Supreme Court upholding of the Constitutional validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 has serious implications for a nation that abides by rule of law and statutory guarantee to fundamental rights.

Indeed, the Anna Hazare movement has given a wider acceptability to kangaroo courts. The Jantar Mantar sentiment seems now breathing in the heart of the Executive.

The Indian Express and The Hindu have questioned the Supreme Court judgment that overturns its own 2017 ruling of rejecting the restrictive PMLA bail provisions.

The 1990-2010 was an era of terrorists running amok in India, and the Parliament came out with laws, which were called draconian, such as TADA, POTA, and PMLA.

IE takes the SC verdict to the cleaner, drawing a parallel with the “Emergency-era courtroom debates on whether Parliament can interdict the right to life without due process”, while reminding that only Justice HR Khanna redeemed himself when others’ sense of justice was clouded.

IE and TH have underlined the SC alibi to grant judicial sanction on the premise that the international conventions warranted such a strong law that calls accused to prove innocence for availing bail, besides an official’s interrogation records becoming admissible in courts.

The PMLA was passed in the Rajya Sabha as a Money Bill, and that aspect is still pending for the judicial review.

While terrorism and international terror funding are the leitmotif for the stringent PMLA, the TH argued that ED is seen going after cases such as cheating, frauds, kidnapping, forgery and even copyright violations.

A progressive society runs on basis of laws and enforcement agencies that pass the test of fire, and the people will need to know the cost of lapses.

Maddening media bankruptcy              

India Media – print and electronic – falls flat on face when weighed on the international standard.

The Indian media houses are essentially run by managements who look at journalism as business, and thus are severely compromised.

Only Deccan Herald could dare to show the mirror to self and peers by carrying an Edit ‘CJI’s criticism a wake-up call’.

The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had nailed the media rot, while speaking at a book release function, and The Rasina Hills had prominently carried a news analysis on the basis of his remarks.

“A few weeks ago, a bench of Justice U U Lalit observed that any discussion on TV regarding criminal cases in courts would amount to direct interference in the administration of criminal justice. It said that a public platform is not the place to debate proof and evidence,” noted DH.

However, DH has wrongly interpreted that the CJI’s outright condemnation of the media was limited only to the electronic channels and the social media. The daily fails to acknowledge that the cancer of paid news first struck the print media in 1990s, and afterwards spread to television channels.

Now, the sad reality is that a reporter covering a particular news beat or the chief of bureau or even the resident editor can be removed with just one phone call by powerful ministers to the management of the newspapers.

Corruption cases conundrum

Finally, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sacked her minister Partha Chatterjee.

Presumed innocence until proved guilty is for the citizens, not ministers, argued the Chief Minister.

But she took the high moral ground after the ‘pink fury’ went viral on social media, as wads of Rs 2000 currency notes were recovered from the residences of Chatterjee’s aide Arpita Mukherjee.

The Times of India in its Edit ‘Politics & Corruption’ noted that there’s a broader governance implication in the country, while posts of teachers are on sale in a number of states. The daily cited the instances of Karnataka and Haryana to slam deep-rooted political corruption.

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