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Justice has many dimensions: social, economic and political, as also paedo, gerontic and gendered. Gender justice has a global amplitude, and gender-based discrimination is universally poignant. In most countries, approximately half the population is female. Yet in most professions, save perhaps in the medical profession, women are neglected in terms of numbers and suffer victimisation in their careers. Their numbers are acutely short in the higher executive and legislativ e echelons. This is most pronounced in the U.K., the U.S. and India.
In the Montesquean system of democratic governance, it is well-established that whatever be the orders of the higher judiciary, when the executive and Parliament go beyond the bounds of the Constitution they can be critically quashed. In that sense, the robed justices represent the most powerful constitutional instrumentality. Thus, the importance of higher judicial appointments is obvious.
The judiciary is the ultimate monitor and decisive invigilator of compliance by the executive and the legislature of the provisions of the Constitution. This applies as much to Westminster as it does to North Block.
In the United States, the appointment of the Supreme Court judges is done by the President. In the U.K., it is done under the orders of the Cabinet. Under the Indian Constitution, judges are appointed by the President. In this perspective, to adopt a riverine metaphor, the Yamuna flows and adopts the current of the Thames and the Potomac.
In India, contrary to my understanding of the Constitution, a strong Bench of the Supreme Court seized from the executive the power to appoint judges, contrary to the specific provisions in the Constitution. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had expressly rejected such a claim in the Constituent Assembly. The ground cited by the judicial bench in this context is the independence of the judiciary. But this is untenable; the usurpation of power should have been corrected by a constitutional amendment.
When the Supreme Court struck down a constitutional provision regarding reservation, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru reversed the decision by saying that the Supreme Court cannot be a Third Chamber of the House. But a weaker successor of his did not have the courage to save the Constitution from the judges when they acted contrary to the basic structure of the Constitution.
Even in the U.S., Mr. Obama’s predecessor was able to be reach the White House only because of a Supreme Court ruling. But the people of the U.S. expressed their clear will through a fighting campaign for the Obama phenomenon through the democratic process.
Mr. Obama is no mere President but a constitutional wonder. He is an epic event. He is also an omen of great portent to the world order. Not belonging to the poor white, not belonging to the upper classes, not enjoying aristocratic grandeur, he symbolises the humblest of the American have-not humanity. Mr. Obama is now a legend, a mighty wind of change towards democratic equality and social justice where terrorism or authoritarian corporate power will not dominate the world order. It is such a majestic Obama revolution that the whole world is looking for.
It is this concern for social justice and gender justice that made Mr. Obama dare to propose a highly talented Hispanic woman as a Judge of the U.S. Supreme Court. The world deals not with an arrogant unipolar system controlled by Washington nor a military superpower ignoring to make world jurisprudence a vanishing point but a tower of peace and stability where the little man with his little voice expresses his will through periodic elections, upholding human rights for all and ending any trace of imperial might. The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice is a global event of significance.
Such a new world order is what Bharat mahan awaits. It is a reversal of the socialist secular democratic Republic which is the vision and the mission of the Founding Fathers of India under swaraj. Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation, affirmed that India lives in its villages and that gram swaraj must eclipse poverty and unemployment.
Nehru, the major architect of independent India, declared a tryst with destiny. He wanted the elimination of backwardness and exploitation by exotic imperialism. He saw industrialisation as the salvation for development. Indeed, making every industry a place of pilgrimage is to wipe every tear from every eye. Agricultural cooperatives should vest in the rural people to command the human resources of the nation in a socialist dimension. No one is free until all are free, no one is happy until all are happy, no one can be proud of Indian culture until all have egalite and justice, health and education. This is the task the Obama phenomenon has shown as a lesson for India.
America Inc. was not the force that put Mr. Obama in the White House. The common millions, the minorities and the handicapped humanity of Americans voted him to power. For the first time, the little man with a little pencil made his little mark on a little piece of paper in secret in the little booth — it is this little giant of America who made the Obama process the protagonist of the U.S.
We in India must, in turn, create a new incarnation to make the little Indian the master of his destiny and use the nation’s human resources to rebuild Bharat — so that we may be a just independent power. The MPs sworn in by an extraordinary extravagance of numerical prodigality have a patriotic duty to make the ballot of the billion reflect socio-economic justice. It should be made a fact of life for the humble Indian so that ‘small is beautiful’ may be our cultural motto. Remember that he represents the nation, not the titanic political faction.
Edmund Burke told the English MPs what our parliamentarians today with a national vision must do: “Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a Member of Parliament.”
We have a historic task to transform our unfortunate world and strive for a new paradise regained:
Wandering between two worlds, one dead
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn
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