Justice Goyal in his judgement in March 2018 put justified restrictions on the imminent arrest without investigation in cases under the Prevention of Atrocities Act or the SC/ST Act. It was a signal to the malcontents to stir the fires of Caste conflict in India. SC has introduced Protective Provisions through its judgement giving provision of Anticipatory Bail under Sec 438 IPC and restraint on filing a case without preliminary investigation.
A very balanced judgement was demonised by the media, politicians of all hues and sundry Civil Rights activists as they are called. Dalit Members Of Parliament across party lines mounted pressure on their parties to over ride the Protective Provisions introduced by the judgement of Justice Goyal passed on March 20, 2018.
Surprisingly, the political parties which do not see eye to eye on any matter of social or national importance came together to pass the Amendments to restore what the SC/ST Act said originally, in contravention of all norms of Natural Justice and the Fundamental Rights.
Natural Justice is the basis of all tenants of justice system in a democracy at least. The original Act as well as the restored Provisions are ultra vires the basic ‘rule against bias’ or nemo iudex in causa sua and ‘right to fair hearing’ or audi alteram partem!
If the accused’s most Fundamental Right To Equality is abused through a legislation which being improved upon by the SC is overturned by the Legislature to pander for votes in name of preventing atrocities doesn’t augur well for a democracy.
Justice Goyal was declared a villain of piece and decried by politicians in the august Houses of Parliament. It’s a new low in the Parliamentary politics of India where a fair judgement was denigrated to help the furtherance of certain kind of politics.
Dalits, Ambedkarites, Leftists and so called Civil Rights activists colluded to call a Nation wide Bandh on April 02, 2018, the Bandh was unprecedented in its magnitude which was evidence enough of a concerted effort by a well entrenched machinery behind the Bandh, the protagonists of the Bandh resorted to unprovoked violence against the Common Man. The resultant loss of property, both public as well as private was huge. The govt shied away from its duty to protect the lives and the property of its citizens from the anti social elements among the Bandh supporters.
Numerous lives were lost, properties burned down, trains stooped and delayed indefinitely, buses burned, establishments attacked, even Police Stations were attacked in parts of Rajasthan, MP and Punjab by the Dalits.
The impressive mobilisation by the votaries of SC/ST Act as well as the opposition of Dalit MPs in Parliament forced the govt to issue statements to the effect of over riding the SC judgement. It went out of its way to assure and assuage the Dalits that Provisions of the Act shall remain inviolable and the govt will bring an Ordinance if required.
The govt introduced the amendments in the LokSabha on 06 August which was passed unanimously and later passed in RajyaSabha too. Unfortunately, BJP resorted to same Votebank politics which it accused Rajiv Gandhi in the ShahBano Case. The amazing co incidence of unanimity in both the Houses didn’t come as surprise to the political watchers but the rest of the population which is affected by the Provisions of the Act, definitely was. The Upper Caste as well as the OBCs forming more than 70% of the population was highly disappointed and a backlash is on the expected lines.
Whereas, the Dalit Bandh was a result of a well planned, well oiled machinery at work, the counter Bharat Nandh On 06 September 2018 is largely spontaneous. It the nature of this latest Bandh which has the Think Tanks at the BJP Headquarters worried about a possible backlash in the coming Assembly polls in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh. The protests in MP are already national news with the elected representatives of both BJP and Congress avoiding going out in public. The fact that the MLAs and the MPs are scared to attend public functions is glaring.
The Counter mobilisation by the Upper Caste and the OBCs in the poll bound States is alarming, it has the potential to derail the Modi Bandwagon which shows no signs of abating.
The pure mathematics is enough put a spoke in the Election Rath of Narendra Modi. The protests in MP and now Rajasthan are signs of things to come. The dominant Upper Castes are aligning themselves with the numerically superior OBCs to upset the applecart. Muslims surprisingly are quiet but it’s nobody’s guess where they vote!
Muslims are presently behind the Dalits as new experiment of JaiBhim-JaiMeem unfolds. But, if Upper Castes and OBCs turn away from BJP, Muslims will flock their way to the party which is in a position to defeat the BJP. The equation worsens if Dalits remain circumspect even after the Amendments and do not show their gratitude towards the BJP in form of Votes. Not only does it have the ability to change the govts in the States of Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh but can certainly derail the Modi Juggernaut in 2019.
The fear of Modi combining the elections Assembly with Parliament has the potential to negate the effect but if too much time is allowed to pass between the elections and the protests keep raging there’s a distinct possibility of Upper Castes as well as OBCs getting withdrawn into a non commital position of NOTA or worse change sides.