Globalization: Why Indian-subcontinent Needs Independent Judiciary?
The Mughal King Jahangir who ruled undivided India in the 16th and 17th century AD is still remembered with love and affection by Muslims, Hindus and other communities. “Jahangir is most famous for his golden ‘chain of justice’. The chain was setup as a link between the people and Jahangir himself. Standing outside the castle of Agra with sixty bells, anyone was capable of pulling the chain and having a personal hearing from Jahangir himself.” He was buried in Lahore.
We have a travelled a few centuries…and live in a different world. The executive branches of the governments worldwide have begun to play havoc, from Washington to Islamabad and New Delhi. This poses a big threat to the rule of law and the democratic functioning of important institutions, such as judiciary. By constantly promoting/praising General Musharraf, the US administration has indirectly helped in crippling an independent judiciary in Pakistan.
In India, too, the independent judiciary is also under attack from the executive branch. The judiciary is often branded as ‘activist’ by the executive branch. Under the excesses and uncaring attitude of the executive, a number of people are being forced to turn to the courts for relief. The courts have played a pivotal role in cases of corruption, issues related to environment, freedom of expression, and even in areas which are really the exclusive preserve of the executive branch.
Now India, like other developing countries, is under heavy pressure from the USA and Western countries to ‘open up’ its economy without caring about the long-term environmental impact of the activities of big multi-national corporations and their projects (even in the most environmentally fragile places). Then there is another aspect: All the reports are indicating that with India opening up its economy the rich are becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer.
Now let’s read about the latest court intervention: “India’s Supreme Court has barred a British company from mining bauxite in forested hills in the east of the country that are home to some of the world’s rarest animals, handing a victory to environmental activists and tribal people.
“Vedanta Resources Plc had planned a £470m open-cast mining project that would rip through the plateau of the Niyamgiri mountain range in Orissa to feed an aluminium plant it has already built in the area.
“The hilly areas of the southern part of Orissa, one of the most underdeveloped regions of India, are bauxite-rich, and the British mining group’s project in the Kalahandi district to produce one million tons of aluminium a year has been at the centre of a raging environmental controversy. The dense forests contain endangered animals, including the Bengal tiger, Asian elephants, giant squirrels, pangolins, four-horned antelopes and the very rare golden gecko.
“The mountains, once considered for status as a wildlife sanctuary by the state government, is also home to about 8,000 Dongria Kondhs, one of India’s most distinctive aboriginal peoples.The green campaigners claim 660 hectares (1,500 acres) of pristine forest with a level of biodiversity rare in south Asia would be destroyed, leading to the drying up of at least two rivers and the annihilation of several rare breeds of wildlife. Protests led to the arrest of scores of tribespeople who fear the refinery will spell their doom.”
The concerned citizens have expressed fears that as usual the executive branch and the mighty corporations would find another route to go ahead with the setting up of their business/industry project.
But what about the poor in whose name the development is being undertaken? There is an interesting post with regard to the number of poor in India…please click here…
On the subject of poverty and globalization there is another interesting article: “The novel Tale of Two Cities of Charles Dickens begins with a piquant description of the contradictions of the times: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity;… we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…’
“At the present, we can also say about the tale of two Indias: ‘We have the best of times; we have the worst of times. There is sparkling prosperity, there is stinking poverty. We have dazzling five star hotels side by side with darkened ill-starred hovels. We have everything by globalisation, we have nothing by globalisation’.”