‘Political’ ED pounces on Opposition; Parliament versus judiciary over freebies; India sets new climate response target

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Opinion Watch

Enforcement Directorate may easily be the show stopper of 2022.

From Congress to Shiv Sena to Trinamool Congress, the ED has grounded the high flying Shiv Sena and the Trinamool Congress, while the Congress is squirming.

Deccan Harald in its Edit ‘A tool of the ruling party’ argued “the circumstances of the conduct of these agencies show that the charge of their misuse by the ruling establishment is not all wrong”.

The daily further sought to support its argument by saying “a number of Shiv Sena MLAs in Maharashtra had come under the ED’s pressure before they decided to join Eknath Shinde’s revolt against Uddhav Thackeray”, while it added “in many cases, it has been observed that the investigations against such legislators end if they join the BJP”.

DH gives statistics to further gain credence for its arguments by noting that there has been 27 fold increase in ED cases even while convictions remain abysmal.

But the conviction story remains a common theme for the whole of criminal jurisprudence, as over 70 per cent of inmates in prisons are under trials.

Yet, the daily rightly seeks to capture the transformation of ED into the most lethal investigative agency under the watch of the Modi government.

The agency draws unprecedented powers under the amended prevention of money laundering law.

It may not be wrong to say that the Parliament has created an entity that would be dreadful in the years to come for many, while discretionary power always carries the risk of the miscarriage of justice.

Parliament versus judiciary over freebies

Prime Minister Narendra Modi towers over his rivals with his art of setting narrative.

Within weeks of his lashing out at ‘Revdi (freebies)’ politics, the media and the judiciary have scaled up their attention to the politics of freebies, while the Supreme Court has also joined the issue.

The Times of India, The Indian Express and The Hindu have carried lead Edits on the Supreme Court stepping into the Revdi debate.

ToI in its Edit ‘Not for Courts, reminds the Supreme Court of excessive baggage of pending cases, and with folded hands tells the top court to mind its own business.

Within the Supreme Court, ToI adds that the pendency accounts for 342 five-judge bench matters, 15 seven-judge and 135 nine-judge matters, while delays account for 40 per cent in lower courts, and 60 per cent in high courts, with cases languishing over three years.

Indeed, the judiciary should first keep its House in order before meddling in the affairs of the legislature.

But when the legislature is caught napping, other wings of democracy would indeed come knocking the door.

The Indian Express in its Edit ‘My subsidy, your revdi’ asks a number of questions such as ‘What is a freebie?’, ‘Is it different from subsidy?’, ‘Are there good and bad subsidies?’.

The daily also sheds spotlight on new welfarism of the Narendra Modi government involving public provision of private goods.

The Hindu carries the debate further by citing the Supreme Court, in S. Subramaniam Balaji vs Government of Tamil Nadu (2013) judgment which upheld the distribution of television sets or consumer goods on the ground that schemes targeted at women, farmers and the poorer sections were in furtherance of Directive Principles.

“As long as public funds were spent based on appropriations cleared by the legislature, they could neither be declared illegal, nor the promise of such items be termed a ‘corrupt practice’,” quoted TH from the judgment.

India sets new climate response target

The Economic Times has taken note of India approving the nationally determined contributions towards global efforts to tackle climate change.

The daily informs that the government has committed to increasing share of non-fossil fuels in total installed capacity from 40 to 50 per cent, aiming reductions target to 45 per cent from the 2005 level, and creating a carbon sink of 25.3 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent through forest coverage.


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