Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
Prof. Emeritus, Symbiosis College of Law, Pune
I am honoured by Mr. Agrawal to have approached me for a short preface to his book of more than five hundred pages. After I have had a cursory glance at the contents of the book I felt that it needs no preface from me at all. The short preface on the cover page "India in Shambles; only the judiciary can save us" is an excellent summary of the grand and central message of the book on which the author must have spent many years to collect the factual material and put it in the form of an easily readable and convincing text.
The theme of the book is in two incomplete sentences, which constitute the name and essence of the book. It is difficult to differ with the claim that India is in shambles and that the judiciary can save us. But if we do not accurately diagnose the disease it is not possible to subscribe to the remedy that judiciary can save us. I fully subscribe to the author's belief in the role of the judiciary as a saviour but this is too bald a statement without understanding its limitations is dangerous.
Judiciary by itself is a potent and powerful institution but let us recall a painful experience of how the judiciary did not save our unfortunate democracy during the bogus emergency promulgated by the late Indira Gandhi during the seventies of the century gone bye. While nine High Courts had interfered and halted the dictator's orders it was our Supreme Court that betrayed the nation. Democracy of India would have gone for good but the flatterers surrounding the dictator convinced her that she had won the hearts of the people of India and she can safely hold elections and avoid her enemy's propaganda that she was a wicked demon. Fortunately for the people of India she succumbed to this advice and learnt the lesson of her life. She was sent to jail by the newly elected Parliament.
I have often wondered what would have happened to us if her flatterers had not fooled her!
The Judiciary is doubtless a great protector of people's liberty and our priceless democratic system but provided it does not have Chief Justices like Justice Ray of emergency fame. I feel nervous when I now find a great effort by a wicked executive in power to control and corner the appointment power of our judges.
There is no substitute for an educated electorate always prepared to defend honest and able judges totally committed to the preservation of our constitutional values and exclude from the judicial families the like of Justice Ray of emergency fame. We must produce politicians who are wholly committed to the service of the nation and not their own pockets. Being practically at the end of my mortal existence I am going to use the rest of my life in eliminating politicians who are not wedded to this goal and judges who dilute their absolute integrity and commitment to the goals of our Constitution, in particular its Directive Principles.
These days whenever the Press gets at me I am asked questions about the latest demonetisation move of the BJP government. It is not a bad move in the abstract but I have explained to the people that this effort is a cover up operation for the great fraud on the people by total impotence in catching the rascals who had stolen ninety lac crores and stashed them in foreign banks. The BJP manifesto in the last election has proved an act of gigantic deception, jumla (gimmick) in the language of the Party's President. I am hoping the judiciary will firmly deal with the culprits and save this unfortunate nation. We shall not be deterred or deceived by the questionable demonetisation which has rightly paralysed our Parliament. The Judiciary has doubtless a great part to play and I do feel confident that the nation will be saved.
The author has certainly used his democratic right to advise the judiciary itself; I like his sample on page 29 "The role of the Judiciary is extremely vital in such matters to enforce the basic law of the Constitution. Our guardians must halt this perennial degeneration of the nation due to such unmindful acts that have created a populace of about 110 crore (by 2015) that is impoverished, illiterate, or semi-illiterate."
The author has a very remarkable understanding of the value of education for our masses. I am a great admirer of the Prophet of Islam for his fantastic teaching in two celebrated lines:
"When you walk in search of knowledge you walk in the path of God; the ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr." Islam reached heights of glory when Muslims followed this advice. Unfortunately a counterfeit version the Wahaabi one is now producing terrorists and murderers like the ISIS. I pray Muslims will escape this tragedy.
Equally important is the author's concern about the disintegration of fraternity and the integrity of the nation. But he doesn't explain how the judiciary can prevent this.
I recommend this book to our students who will find useful knowledge in every chapter to make them mature citizens of India if not great lawyers or teachers.
The book ends with the paramount need of the Indian nation in a moving advice:
To reconstruct the nation all it need is our guardians, elected (Legislators) and selected (Civil Executives) to be knowledgeable and visionaries and sensitive to human sufferings as propounded through the book. Since establishing the government is a subject matter of the Constitution and Judiciary is its custodian, I have prayed the learned Judiciary to set all the wrongs right by establishing responsible and accountable system of governance at the Union and the States. Our new governances shall be able to create means, avenues and opportunities to one day place our country amongst the most prosperous and powerful nations in the world.
25 November 2016