Is the justice bound to your identity? Does the notion always win over the facts and the fairness?


Ministries On Social Media

Sushma Swaraj has earned adequate admiration on the internet for being people-friendly. Her ability and enthusiasm to lend a helping hand to the people in need of her assistance have indeed brought her extended applause from all quarters. The Parties and people opposed to her ideology too have hardly scrupled to shower praise on her for her pro-people commitment. She has often been eulogized for being a ‘Johnny-on-the-Spot’ as far as the grievances regarding anything related to Passport is concerned. The solution to our grievances regarding Passport is just a tweet away to Mrs. Swaraj, has become a widespread opinion that the ordinary people in this Country currently hold of the foreign minister.
But, in this Country where the adjudication of a simple dispute takes around 20 years on an average to get decided, Twitter Governance may be an active business but a risky as well. So, be it Suresh Prabhu, who immediately after getting a complaint on Twitter against a TTE, suspends him on Twitter itself, or be it Sushma Swaraj, who transfers an officer tout de suite after receiving a complaint on Twitter by a newly-married inter-religious couple claiming to be harassed by the said officer, such a post-haste decision comes with its own repercussion.

Preconceived Notion

The first thing we need to understand is that whenever such a prompt decision is made, the decider always has a preconceived notion in his/her mind about the possible guilt and the possible innocence of one class of people, and I do not argue that these presumptions are wholly unfounded. These presumptions have its base that takes shape over years and decades through general conduct and character of the said class of people. So, when Suresh Prabhu suspended the TTE on Twitter, in all probability his decision would have been governed by this preconceived notion that the TTE class has this tendency of harassing everyday commuters. This is true to a great extent that ordinary passengers are harassed and hounded by the corrupt TTEs, and you do not need to go too far to see this. Just stand for some-time at the exit bridge of either Delhi or New Delhi Railway stations where you can witness the gang of TTEs harassing laborers class people who migrate to the capital city in search of jobs. These harassments are done on many small pretexts. For instance, even they have Superfast Tickets, the TTEs will say that you traveled in a Superfast train on an Express Ticket, and therefore liable to be fined, or, your tickets are not valid in the trains by which you have traveled, etc. First, these people have to pay unauthorized extra charges in the name of ‘Superfast’ train tickets at the General Ticket Counters and then they are harassed by the TTEs at their destinations or in the running trains too. But, can it mean that all TTEs are corrupt per se by the nature of the job they have been entrusted to do? No, Never! In my long Railway journey hitherto, I have found 80% TTEs I have encountered with to be corrupt but 20% doing their duties honestly as well. So, these sort of presumptions of considering ordinary people victims in all cases has little lacuna and fault.

Similarly, when Sushma Swaraj transfers an officer immediately after receiving a complaint on Twitter by a newly-married inter-religious couple who screamed discrimination on religious ground, her decision in all probability would have been governed by many such preconceived notions including that the ordinary passport applicants get harassed by the officers for their small technical mistakes. It may be true to some extent, though in my opinion the scope of indulging in corruption in the passport related matters by the Passport officials is comparatively far less than under other services delivery process in the Country, again this doesn’t mean that all such officers are corrupt.

Flip Side Of Victim Card

One should understand that an ordinary citizen may also attempt to play fraud on the system by playing victim-card or try to get benefited by the general presumption against one class of people. So, where does the solution lie? The solution lies in the fact that as and when one takes such post-haste decision influenced by such presumptions in which such officials are instantly punished through Twitter itself, a serious attempt should be made to get the matter investigated correctly in all its seriousness as soon as possible, and then only a final action should be taken in the matter. In this inquiry, if the complaint is consequently found to be false or malicious, then specific action should also be taken against the person making such complaint to deter people from making such false allegations in future. But, in the recent incident that led to so much of furor and hullabaloo by the people on the right side of the political spectrum, Mrs. Swaraj did not do anything to respond to the real questions in the matter. Instead, she chose to play the victim card of getting trolled on Twitter, the best chapter in the Liberals’ playbook to dodge real questions. The slangs, abuses, threats, and curse that Mrs. Swaraj received on Twitter for her action are indeed reprehensible, and no person in his right state of mind can endorse these, but this also doesn’t mean that one shall conveniently conceal the real answers behind the pretext of such trolling. Ram Madhav of BJP has tried to answer some of these questions through one of his articles in The Indian Express. The point arises that this is a matter of governance and Ram Madhav neither holds any official post to defend her, nor he is the spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs. His argument holds relevance only to the point he denounces trolling. If a certain controversial action has been taken by Mrs. Swaraj that raises some real questions, the answer has to be given by her or her Ministry, not by any BJP leader. Moreover, Ram Madhav’s article too tries to portray her trolling as the most serious things and other questions to be less important. His answers to some of the questions raised on Mrs. Swaraj’s action can be easily debunked as he has tried nothing but to pacify the anger of the people on the right side of the political spectrum. This is saddening to learn that Mrs. Swaraj herself has chosen to remain reticent on the issue hitherto. She should not have as tight-lipped as she has preferred to be.

Pseudo-Secularism Taking Over Rationalism

This entire issue may have another dimension as well. The reality of our nation is that one can keep arguing against the hypocrisy of pseudo-secular-liberal ecosystem in our Country as long as one is not in power but as soon as the same person comes to power, enormous energy is invested in making oneself appear as so-called secular and liberal. The attempts are made by such leaders to scour the past images by taking such so-called bold decisions that attract national and international Media publicity, because how can you sit at the international podium and address the global audience with so-called communal colors? Therefore, all efforts are made to either camouflage or rinse these past images of being a so-called communal leader by taking this sort of stunting decisions aimed at national and international Media attention. As soon as, an inter-religious married woman cried discrimination for being married to a Muslim, all rationality and the administration of fair justice had to take a back-seat, and the pseudo-secularism had to prevail. All rational questions of due-process got buried in the outcry of pseudo-secularism. ‘Audi Alterem Partem,’ the fundamental principle of natural justice got cremated in the crematorium of Justice. In our Country, Justice has become a slave of identity politics.

Further,

When Benazir Bhutto mentioned Indian Army’s valour to censure Pakistani Army

Why Nationalism should be embraced now more than ever?

Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar is a law graduate, an RTI activist and a former SBI Youth for India Fellow (2017-18) Batch.