the rule of law...

that is the end of the rule of law and the breakdown of democracy were the harsh words the Chief Justice of India used yesterday while haring the pathetic excuses of a government caught red handed!

Thanks heaven for the rule of law, no matter how tardy, it ultimately catches up and sets things right.

As the Supreme court verdict enfolded, it was pathetic to see that no one truly understood what was at stake. Everyone was busy protecting his own tiny reality be it the traders, the politicians or the administrators. I am no judge but even I find the arguments put forward laughable and almost contemptuous. An elected government that confesses it cannot handle law and order, an angry trader community that decides to oppose the law, and petty politicians looking at ways to further their hidden agendas.

What one would have liked to see is all concerned accept part of the responsibility and put forward a concrete option whereby everyone gave up a little. maybe the courts would have lent a more lenient view.

Laws exist from time immemorial when human beings decided to give up their solitary living to form a social group. What we have been witnessing over the past years is an absolute disregard for laws and a proliferation of news ways to break them. I was appalled when a trader friend explained to me the difference between having a shutter and a gate, the former being commercial, the later within the law, never mind if the activity within the gate/shutter is the same.

The government has done nothing for crucial urban issues like habitat for the poor. An example is the Lohar - nomadic - community of Delhi, who has been promised resettlement for the past 25 years and not got any. They still live in shanties along the main arteries of our society. But hold on, the shanties have a postal address, its occupants a voter ID.

Migrate to India's capital city and two years down the line you become a voter; try and get a caste certificate to be able to qualify to the innumerable schemes and you are asked to prove that your family resides in this city since 1951!

The situation that we face has taken years of corruption, and law breaking to come to what it is today. And the law has been broken with great impunity. Wonder why?

I guess it is because our moral and social fibre has been corrupted and we are we have turned into a selfish bunch of people. We are appalled by the slums and are willing to defend sari shops and branded good stores.

Never mind if the former is because we just forgot that the poor needed proper habitat, though we continue to use greedily all the services they offer and the later, the later our own kind so deserve our support. Only, as we are above all selfish, we are willing to withdraw our sympathy when their acts irk us - namely we cannot go shopping, send our children to school and go for our kitty party, or simply commute.

The government has tracts of land available, wonder why everyone does not for once give up their petty agendas and sit around a table and work out a resettlement plan that could then humbly be presented to a court. I was aghast to read in the press that politicians of the ruling party are busy inventing new band-aid fixes that range beyond the gate/shutter one: divide the shop between brothers so that it comes within the limits, wall the facade till a solution is found, shift your ware to your house etc

Driving this morning to pwhy - as we are open - was an eerie experience as the hustle bustle of the roads was no there to greet one and reassure us that all was well. There were no children in their sparkling uniforms rushing to school. A city is held to ransom because someone someday had broken a law and no one was there to stop him.

reminds of the story of the boy walking to the gallows who tells his weeping mother: why didn't you slap me the first time I broke the law!

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