Duda’s Daily Doodle

I have been invited by Epilogue to use its platform and reach out its subscribers with my views on contemporary issues on a, more or less, real time basis. Have decided to write a column under the caption Duda’s Daily Doodle and in this I would attempt to touch upon one or two issues in as few words as possible. Although the caption says ‘Daily’, I would start off be writing on every alternate day.

I am convinced that most of the people neither have the time nor the temperament to read through long and winding articles and essays. It is time that people of my generation accepted that Instagram and Twitter are the new platforms for engagement and reflection. Although the Twitterati spends more time in packaging their thought into 280 characters than on conceptualizing the thought itself, it is a phenomenon that we have to get used to if we have the desire to communicate. I am taking my first step at word miserliness and plan to communicate whatever I have to in around five hundred words. Hope I am able to hold the attention of readers through the 1.7 minutes that an average reader takes to read five hundred words.

Would look forward to your comments and suggestions.

September 6, 2020

I wonder if the Sushant Singh Rajput (SSR) death case would have been such a multi-pronged fact finding investigation – carried out by honchos of CBI +NCB+ED – if Shiv Sena had decided to partner with BJP to form the government in Maharashtra in 2019. Or, would Republic TV and the other  news channels that emulate Arnab for his irrational and politically motivated ideological position, create so much of noise against the Mumbai Police if Arnab was not harassed for bad mouthing Sonia Gandhi on TV. Or would the self-appointed spokesperson of BJP, Kangana Ranaut ,compare Mumbai with POK if Fadnavis had retained power. Certainly not. SSR is a political opportunity that has fallen into the lap of the party in power at the Centre and given its unabashed political shrewdness, it is naive to expect them to not exploit it to embarrass the Maharashtra Government.

The Supreme Court acted swiftly and directed the CBI to investigate the allegations made by the actor’s family. The primary question is whether SSR was killed or did he commit suicide? The findings would go a long way in assuaging the feelings of his family and fans. The way this case has been handled, despite the national preoccupation with Corona, it has ignited a new hope with families of around 30,000 people who are reportedly murdered in India every year. The supreme leader of the current political dispensation in power at the Centre has so eloquently explained the constitutional provisions of equality in his ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ commitment. It is time for the Modi government to show that it has the same concern about everyone and the criminal investigation and justice system would be overhauled and institutions would not discriminate between the stars and the starving..

Prashant Bhushan has been found guilty of contempt of court and fined Rupee one. In this bar vs bench face-off, it is the Supreme Court that has emerged as the winner in public perception by pronouncing Prashant guilty and, at the same time, taking a magnanimous approach and letting him off on payment of a token fine. Prashant has done monumental clean-up work and a lot of it has been pro bono. He is a legend in his own right and is a role model for young lawyers who want to spice up their legal profession with activism. His image is that of a committed and well meaning lawyer who is a pious do-gooder. His claim to fame are the issues that he has been able to raise through PILs that he has filed and the judgments that he has been able to get from the Supreme Court. Ironically, his seemingly inflated self perception made him believe that taking the legal recourse for seeking relief had placed him on a higher pedestal than the institution from which he was seeking the relief. He did not see a dichotomy in finding faults and running down the institution that has been his raison d’ etre.

While the objective for Prashant was retaining the dignity of the Apex Court, he adopted a rather noisy and malicious approach. As a renowned senior lawyer who later confessed that he ”had the highest respect for the institution of the Supreme Court” and added that he “believed it to be the last bastion of hope, particularly for the weak and the oppressed who knock at its door for the protection of their rights, often against a powerful executive”, he could have raised his observations and concerns with the CJI and his brother Judges in private rather than taking the Twitter route to run down the institution. The leaders of the bar have a lot to do within their fraternity and, also, in collaboration with the judiciary to restore and build institutional credibility of the Apex Court. Fault finding is desired but once that is done, a solution has to be found and that, for sure, does not come from broadcasting the fault.

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