Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020 | Last Update : 02:02 AM IST

195th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra1443409114960338084 Andhra Pradesh7192566588755981 Karnataka6406615157829286 Tamil Nadu6088555529389653 Uttar Pradesh4031013468595864 Delhi2827522506135401 West Bengal2603242287555017 Odisha222734190080912 Kerala204242131048772 Telangana1992761701091163 Bihar178882164537888 Assam169985139977655 Gujarat1332191132403417 Rajasthan1288591077181441 Haryana1237821059901307 Madhya Pradesh117588932382207 Punjab107096840253134 Chhatisgarh9856566860777 Jharkhand7770964515661 Jammu and Kashmir69832495571105 Uttarakhand4533233642555 Goa3107125071386 Puducherry2548919781494 Tripura2412717464262 Himachal Pradesh136799526152 Chandigarh112128677145 Manipur9791760263 Arunachal Pradesh8649623014 Nagaland5768469311 Meghalaya5158334343 Sikkim2707199431 Mizoram178612880
  Opinion   Edit  21 Nov 2019  Why can’t Farooq, PC attend Winter Session?

Why can’t Farooq, PC attend Winter Session?

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Nov 21, 2019, 2:18 am IST
Updated : Nov 21, 2019, 2:18 am IST

Their imprisonment is a sorry reflection on the working of our democracy.

Farooq Abdullah
 Farooq Abdullah

There is deep irony in that two of the most senior, most experienced and most articulate members of Parliament — Farooq Abdullah, a former J&K chief minister and former Union minister, a sitting member of the Lok Sabha, and P. Chidambaram, a former Union home and finance minister, who is a Rajya Sabha member — are in jail and can’t attend the Winter Session.

Their imprisonment is a sorry reflection on the working of our democracy. This is because, to an ordinary observer, both arrests would seem arbitrary, unjustified, flowing from executive hubris and ill-will, and shot through with a streak of political animosity.

 

Strictly speaking, the arrests may not be illegal. This is because, in Dr Abdullah’s case, the government chose to first arrest him without citing any reason (on a preventive detention basis after the constitutional dismemberment of J&K state) but later implausibly pulled him in under the draconian Public Safety Act.

The Centre can fairly be questioned for ill-treating an 83-year old. Not only has a nervous Centre arrested an elderly public figure, it also sought to malign him and his family — besides hundreds of other Kashmiri leaders also jailed — as being corrupt without an ounce of proof.

(The story of Kashmir being locked down for over 100 days since August 5 is a separate discussion. Even so, it’s necessary to point out that Parliament has not been informed of the reasons for doing so, as some European Parliament members were given a guided tour and feted in Srinagar in a desperate bid to appease international opinion.)

 

Mr Chidambaram was arrested in dramatic fashion from his Delhi residence on August 21 midnight. The investigative agencies’ officers clambered over walls without warning as though they were dealing with a dreaded terrorist.

Since then the former minister has been lodged in Tihar Jail or in the CBI lockup. He has been subjected to intensive and lengthy investigation-related interviews by officials of the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and income-tax department in two separate matters, the INX Media case and a money-laundering case. Three months of custodial interrogation when all the evidence is document-based is shocking. To a lay person, this would suggest the government has a poor case. Therefore, it would seem that his arrest - which also seems an attempt at personal humiliation — may be rooted in political vendetta. Even the decisions of the judicial authorities to virtually hand the CBI and ED a carte blanche to practically arrest Mr Chidambaram at will is likely to make a disbelieving public worry about the state of our judiciary.

 

The presiding officers of the two Houses have not informed members of the reasons for these two high-profile arrests. They must do so right away. The way things stand, it would appear that the government is worried that Dr Abdullah and Mr Chidambaram, were they present in Parliament and spoke, would expose its arbitrariness and misuse of power.

Tags: farooq abdullah