Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Odd Republic: Supreme Court adventurism

Are you, like me, alarmed at the rate at which Supreme Court is putting pressure on the Executive, based mostly (according to me) on the whim of the presiding judges?

1. Declaring an amendment to Representation of People's Act enacted by parliament in 1989 as unconstitutional (which is ok) but simultaneously interfering with the Parliamentary privilege to decide when a convicted member can be disqualified.

2. Declaring AICTE as an advisory body and creating a regulatory vacuum for Engineering colleges. Messing with the Medical council before that.

3. Dictating that NOTA and Paper Trail are mandatory just because the Election Commission is pliant? Shouldn't political parties and Parliament have a say? At the very least, such measures cost money.

4. And dictating to the Executive what identity measure (Aadhar) it can or cannot use for welfare programs?

I myself think targeted welfare is wrong and will never work (like most economists say). I have written at length how Nandan's biometric card is a foolhardy exercise and will positively result in excluding the needy from getting welfare (as Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey have been arguing). I believe Direct Cash Transfer is immoral and will make welfare even more harder to reach the excluded poor (because of competition from undeserving rich people like the ones - most of them - lining up at their LPG distributor).

Its perhaps not even Government's fault that the bill to legitimize UIDAI was stuck in the standing committee. However for the SC to order the govt on whether Aadhar can be made mandatory for receiving welfare, seems clear misadventure in the domain of the executive and legislature.

But then our Supreme Court appoints food commissioners (?!!). We better learn to live with this odd republic.