EC about to turn shell
There are two ways to deal with shell institutions.
1. Do not force their hand. Orchestrate events and calibrate media coverage so that people still think there is some meat there. This is the “Keep the faith strategy”
2. Force their hand. You can still calibrate media coverage. The problem happens when you ask them to openly deal with something outrageous. People see through all this. This is the “Open the kimono strategy”
Example : We thought the Central Vigilance Commission had some meat on their bones, but they were forced to address the 60K Cr loss to the treasury. There is now complete silence from them while they are forced to squirm.
Example : We thought the TRAI was working in some hitech modern field, so we expect them to be above samosa eating babus. Then we find they are also toothless because their recommendations are trashed and there is no check (in the sense of checks and balances) there either.
Example : We thought the Supreme Court could address the all important twin aspects of equality and social justice. The actual verdict did not matter as long as it laid out clear checks and balances in the quota system. It needed to clarify to both the truly backward and those who were going to agree to an abridged concept of equality. The nation waited with bated breath, yet when the judgement actually came there was precious little commentary on it. The court waived its right of strict scrutiny of such a fundamental concept without telling us what its own standards of scrutiny were. Most people thought, “Oh, okay we get it. Sorry for the trouble.”
We will stop here. Why ? Because everything stems from and is rooted in this grand Indian anomaly. The day we compromise on equality and social justice is the day we selected the fork in the road.
Back to the topic.
Next on stage – The Election Commission
Now it is the turn of the Election Commission. They are about to step into the spotlight and find out exactly where they stand. They are being forced to open up their kimono and I suspect it is not going to be a pretty sight.
This is the constitution (via Barbarindians excellent take on the whole issue)
– Provided further that any other Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.
– Constitution of India. Section 324(5)
The CEC has prepared a comprehensive report with over 40 acts of partisanship. We hear this includes outrageous attempts by Mr Chawla to scuttle the Karnataka elections and UP elections.
The 1995 verdict reiterated, “Since the other ECs were not intended to be permanent appointees they could not be granted the irremovability protection of the CEC, a permanent incumbent, and, therefore, they were placed under the protective umbrella of an independent CEC.”
Source : TOI
Is the timing suspect ?
This is a typical news item you see in the Indian media.
NEW DELHI: The timing of CEC N Gopalaswami’s recommendation for the removal of his likely successor Navin Chawla is no doubt suspicious as it has been made barely three months before the general election and his own retirement.
First a tutorial about the Indian media. It is 40+% news and 60-% opinion. You might wonder, exactly why is the CECs letter “suspicious” ? Who thinks it is ? It would be suspicious if the CEC had raised the issue 9months and 11days (9-11 see) ahead of the elections. But 3 months ?
Another example is “Nation outraged over bail to Mangalore attackers. This was in big red letters flashing on major news channels. Really ? I just checked my locality and no one cares. So who thinks the “Nation is outraged” ? Who is the “Nation” ? Who checked ?
Mr Singhvi says “There are several intricate issues of law involved including the very jurisdiction of the CEC to exercise such powers on a colleague,”
I just wish a reporter asked, “Sir, intricate issues like what ?”
A boss wants to fire his subordinate. End of story.
P.Chidambaram’s funny outtakes
“I thought all Election Commissioners hold constitutional posts to which the Constitution prescribes the term. Neither I nor you can disturb that,” Mr. Chidambaram said here.
As the chief spokesperson of the government, Mr. Chidambaram was asked at a press conference to spell out the rules as per the law to handle the issue.
Peals of laughter
“There is no rule which requires the spokesperson of the government to be trained in law,” he said, sending the hall into peals of laughter.
Source : Hindu
Okay, I was wrong earlier. A reporter indeed had the guts to ask him and see what happened. The press audience erupts into laughter, blissfully unaware of the ruins left behind. Blissfully unaware that the uber educated home minister is ignorant of such an important civics lesson. A 1 minute google search could have answered his questions. The reality is that whatever the constitution says does not really matter all that much. He knows that.
As far as PCs opinion is concerned. He values “life stories” over facts. Enough said.
Be scared people.