Saibaba walks free; Himachal votes on Nov. 12; Xi Jinping’s hegemony

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Opinion Watch

Saibaba walks free

Miscarriage of due process of law is by and large a norm in India, and the police have been found erring in their rush to get accused jailed under provisions which make availing bails tougher.

The acquittal of Saibaba, the wheelchair bound ex-Delhi University professor and 90 per cent disabled, is a tight slap on the unprofessional police forces and their cheerleaders, sitting in the trial court. Saibaba was jailed in 2014 and convicted for life imprisonment in 2017.

The Pioneer in its Editorial headlined ‘Siren Song’ has come down heavily against the lapses in the rule of law, warning that the miscarriage of justice would be a norm when those tasked with the roles of law and enforcement agencies work to please their masters.

“The Siren Song that the end justifies the means, and the procedural safeguards are subservient to the overwhelming need to ensure that the accused is prosecuted and punished, must be muzzled by the rule of law,” the daily quoted from the judgment of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

Sanctity of due process and procedural safeguards, two key provisions of the section 45 of the UAPA Act, were violated in the case of Sai Baba, The Editorial of the Times of India said, adding that his acquittal is a food for thought for all of us.

Indeed, the crowd essentially has a lynch mindset and urge to cheer the kangaroo courts, as seen during the Chinese revolution, when the innocents were killed and their flesh eaten by the cheering followers of the new regime. What the crowd desires shouldn’t be the touchstone for the law enforcement agencies, and they must never waver from strictest compliance to the rule of law, and those who are without spine should never be allowed to join the police and the judiciary.

Himachal votes on Nov. 12

The Election Commission has announced that Himachal Pradesh would vote on November 12 and the verdict would be out on December 8.

The Times of India in its Editorial has wondered if Congress is at all serious about the poll, as the Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting hard. The daily has argued that Congress has been fumbling in states since 2019 where the norm had been to vote out the incumbent governments.

The Indian Express also commented that the poll will be a test for Congress, while noting that Himachal Pradesh has been a two-party state since its formation in 1971. The daily has noted the Aam Aadmi Party lost the battle even before the bugle was sounded after a series of defections. The two party state is a challenge for the BJP, for the party is without the benefit of the split of Opposition votes.     

Xi Jinping’s hegemony

In a few days, Chinese President Xi Jinping will get the third term in the office. The 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) begins next week amid intense international interest.

The Indian Express has noted in its Editorial that the world is watching China more keenly after Beijing’s bid to reshape the world order. China is politically an opaque country. The CCP is a closed-door affair, and deliberations hardly come in the public domains.

True to the knack of a dictator, Xi has overturned the two-term norms for the Chinese President. The People’s Liberation Army was raised by him and remains loyal to him as well, while being the principal tool to suppress and muzzle the dissent. The Noida-based daily asked if Xi would again pack the seven member politburo standing committee with his loyalists. That should be a fait accompli, for Xi is a dictator for no reason.

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