Partisan Democracy

The media in India seems to be an agent and extended arm of the ruling parties. The hard reality is that a large number of news items related to poverty, unemployment, inflation, suicide by farmers are sidelined or killed in the news room everyday to appease the persons in authority. It may be an interesting reading if killed news reports in dailies are published by someone. They remain busy round the year to dish out minor issues to divert public attention. They simply create stories of such news and facts which amount to be sensitive, decisive and pivotal in nature. In 2020 they portrayed the Tablighi Jamaat Members for spike in COVID-19 cases. While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated media bias in India as pro-government news channels blamed the farmers’ protests for limited oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients in Delhi though supplies were actually scarce due to poor public health infrastructure. Likewise, in the 2019 general election, the newspapers that received more advertisement revenue from the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP), remained pro-actively engaged in highlighting the government policies and sell them to people day in and day out to influence voters in favour of the rulers. In truth the corporate houses owned news papers used to compete with each other to woo the ruling dispensation.

Of late the credibility of CBI, ED, Vigilance Department, Police etc has come under deep public scrutiny. Their actions and inactions are open to questions in many cases. Since 2014, more than 570 investigations or cases against the rivals of BJP, a staggering 340 percent increase compared with similar raids-summons-investigations-interrogations during the second Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, have taken place. Repeatedly summoning Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in recent weeks allegedly to expedite investigations into the National Herald money laundering case of 2012 by the ED, is anything but political vendetta.

Justice delayed, it is often said, is justice denied. In India justice is often indefinitely kept pending for a long time. Now, there are more than 4.5 crore pending cases across all courts including high courts, supreme court and lower courts in India. In fact, in 2019, there were 3.3 crore pending cases, which means that in the last two years, India has added 23 cases every minute to its pendency list. The delay in delivery of justice prompts the executive to introduce the bulldozer justice system as being experienced in recent months in the BJP ruled states. The Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states have reportedly exhorted officials to take such action against those guilty that it sets an example, so that no one commits a ‘crime’ or takes the law into their own hands. Although, the significance of due process of law, the difference between the accused and convicted persons and the role of the judiciary appears to be insignificant and time consuming. Hence, invoking the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 by the Uttar Pradesh government against those found guilty of unlawful protests as well as to take suo-motu cognisance against demolition drives in Uttar Pradesh sparks a fresh debate on separation of power structure in India.If delay in delivery of justice is continued, executive actions of the government would be more aggressive, discriminatory and inhuman, which leads to introduce the concept of ‘political governance’. All democratic norms and niceties are thrown into winds.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party being the ruler at the centre continually harasses its opponents, particularly during election times through CBI and other central agencies, the parties, regional or otherwise, that rule some states, resort to the same tactical line to silence their critics. So it is CID that takes care of ruling party’s opponents in West Bengal. The way they utilise police and Para-military to further their partisan interests has virtually ruined the very fabric of governance. It’s political governance all the way. The administrative neutrality is a misnomer. And it has opened the scope of enormous corruption in the establishment. The constitution-mandated institutions are increasingly becoming irrelevant. How CPM utilised policemen as their cadres in Bengal during their hey days to repress their opponents is now history. It was also one of the main reasons of their fall and decline in an otherwise left-leaning state despite many historic mass movements under the leadership of the communists in the yester years.



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Vol 55, No. 4, Jul 24 - 30, 2022