The implied demand of the AAP is very clearly that it will decide what is right and what is wrong. It will not be a decision that will be based on what the law as laid down in the Constitution and an elected legislature will decide.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought to gain this leverage through his self-styled “anarchic” method over the last few days in the national capital. That he withdrew the self-created anarchy may simply be an acknowledgement on his part without admitting that he cannot sustain the open-air mixing of both dharna and governance at the same time and same space.
It could also be the impact of an undercurrent of public disapproval of what most commentators have described as a drama to win the dismissal of his government by the Congress-led Centre so he could put on the garb of the martyr for the Lok Sabha election. The threat he has uttered while calling off the demonstration of his power of creating anarchy (by his own admission the title he has secured for himself) may be a face saver for his clamouring supporters. It certainly is not a “partial success of the people” as he claimed before the media.
The media has already seen through his claim. Quoting party sources, The Hindu has reported that he was advised at a top party meeting that this (offer from the lieutenant governor) was the “best offer possible from the Centre”. The Lt. governor came out with an “appeal” to Kejriwal to withdraw the agitation “in view of the sacrosanct occasion of Republic Day and the perceived security situation”.
All that the Centre has offered him was to let the two of the several police officers he was indicting to “go on leave” while he had demanded the suspension of the entire group of policemen and lodging of FIR against them. The fact that a judicial enquiry into the entire event that led to the agitation will continue seems to have been deliberately skipped in the Delhi chief minister’s address to his partymen.
The enquiry involves the Law Minister and the Social Welfare Minister of Kejriwal’s government whose attempt to lay down their version of the law of the land to the policemen and the policemen’s legitimate refusal to go by what these two worthies describe as the law, forms part of the showdown that the AAP created at Malviya Nagar in Delhi.
Apart from all the claims of the AAP government, there are basic questions that the judicial enquiry must answer-questions which many leading public figures in the national capital have condemned as unworthy of the members of the state government.
First issue: Are the AAP activists right in raiding the residences of some African women, detaining them, vilifying them and even forcing them to give their urine sample on the charge of these party workers that they were fomenting prostitution and drug culture?
If party activists could arbitrarily mark some group of people as guilty and detain them and then the State Law Minister “orders” their arrest and detention at midnight and search their residences, by any account it is a violation of the law because only a court can order such searches.
In any case, an accused woman cannot be taken into custody at such an unearthly hour according to existing law. There is a basic question involved in this. If the State Law Minister, Somnath Bharti, and his men had any evidence about the alleged prostitution or drug racket or both, they should have approached a court and got a warrant for search.
To ignore this provision in law and then claim as Bharti did that because he was the law minister he had a right to order police to do something in violation of the law may be the self-styled anarchist’s method of making the law.
Yet another shocking behaviour was to ask the women-allegedly being used for prostitution-to be subjected to search and arrest, putting the law on its head. The law minister of Delhi was asking the police to victimise the very victims. That he should even ignore that they are foreigners and needed at least minimum courtesy from the minister of the country of their residence is a serious crime from a government official.
Is the AAP saying there should be no due process of law? Is it saying that just because it has been elected by the people it will set law by oral orders and not through a duly created legislation? If this is the government the people of Delhi has got, they should immediately get hold of Charles Dickens’ novel, The Tale of Two Cities, or even better, George Orwell’s 1984.
Kejriwal acting like the Jacobins who sent anyone who they didn’t like to the guillotine, setting out their own process of instant law is anarchy. And Kejriwal gloats in claiming that he is an “anarchist”. Why is he not using his “popular support” to let the Delhi Assembly meet, discuss a new law for the state where his ministers and his partymen will decide who is guilty and of what he is guilty even at midnight through a process of vigilante crowd gathering and punish him or her, maybe by lynching the accused? He knows very well that such a law cannot be made as the courts will soon enough declare this as violation of the Constitution, even if his supporting Congress MLAs side with him to give him majority in the Delhi Assembly.
Obviously, this drama AAP is threatening to stage in abundant measure is a smokescreen for Kejriwal’s inability to govern and implement what he has promised. Or is it that Kejriwal is saying that this street fight and imposition of the will of himself and his ministers supported by a vigilante crowd of howling supporters is the new governance that the people have voted for?
In that case he should have clearly refused to take the oath according to the Constitution dubbing this sacred document as anti-people and that his government will take decisions through street meetings.
Recent history says that under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the football field was converted into an execution display and the Taliban decided whom to be hanged through a trial by its crowd. The Naxalites in Gadchiroli and elsewhere too claim the right of “people” to decide who is guilty and shoot them right afterwards. Kejriwal obviously wants to follow in these footsteps.
Long Live the AAP Revolution!
Balbir Punj is National Vice President, BJP.