It took only 49 days for the Establishment to destroy the anti-establishment. The headline was Jan Lokpal. But the fine-print was a specific corruption allegation.
Move aside 2G and Coal. India’s biggest scam has arrived. Or depending on your viewpoint, it can even be the biggest sham allegation.
Anyway, this scam or sham allegation, has been so huge in its impact that you found enemies becoming allies overnight. They had nothing in common, except that they were part of the Establishment. When the Establishment was threatened, they came together and removed the self-proclaimed anarchist.
The groundwork has been underway, ever since this mother-of-all-allegations was made by the anarchist.
In a case where FIRs were filed against two Congress ministers and a former Congress minister, the best defence came not from Congress, but from the most unlikely source.
“The Delhi government has no police powers. What thus is the function of the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Government? The ACB is part of the Vigilance Directorate of the Delhi Government. It is the function related to vigilance and not to the police powers."
He was not just claiming things out of thin air. He cited all the valid law points like these:
“Legislative and executive jurisdiction of Delhi is circumscribed by Article 239AA. Entries 1, 2 and 18 of the State List under the Seventh Schedule are not applicable to Delhi. Entry 1 deals with public order, entry 2 with police and entry 18 with land.”
And this was not just a career politician’s speak. The words are from the former Additional Solicitor General of VP Singh Government, the legal architect of Bofors allegations, the former Law Minister of Vajpayee Government, and a Senior Advocate of Supreme Court.
And don’t think Arun Jaitley stopped his defence of Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal, & Murli Deora, at that.
The veteran BJP leader, former Cabinet Minister, and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, went on:
“Ordinarily, when we perceive threats to federalism, it is suspected that encroachment of federal principles is by the Centre. The Centre, through its agencies, cannot usually investigate what happens in the states. It is only in extreme cases that it issues an advisory or, where there is breakdown of constitutional machinery, it can invoke powers under Articles 356."
Implying that just the reverse - or perhaps even worse than the reverse - has taken place, he continued his defence of the Congress trio:
"What happened in Delhi therefore merits a comment. Delhi is a Union Territory with a State Assembly.”
Got it? Delhi is not even a proper state. Just a Union Territory (read as property of the Union Government) which somehow happens to have a State Assembly. So, how can a mere tiny half-state attempt something unimaginable - entering Centre’s turf - that has never been attempted by even BJP’s biggies like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh?
Then his masterpiece in the argument: “It is an attack on federalism.”
Imagine, Arun Jaitley of BJP defending powerful archrivals Sibal, Moily, & Deora of the all-powerful Congress and Central Government, against the onslaught of a Chief Minister of a minority government of a tiny half-state. That is what is called principle.
The principle that nobody is above money, and by its extension, nobody is above Mukesh Ambani when it comes to India.
That is what irked the sensibilities of Jaitley about an FIR that had no one from BJP, but only from Congress, plus the richest Indian on the globe. Maybe Jaitley was doing a pre-emptive strike against Kejriwal targeting Modi, who as a fellow-Gujarati and capitalist has been successfully weaning away Ambani from Congress.
Anyway, Kejriwal obviously doesn’t know as much about Jaitley, when it comes to federalism and the laws that govern it like Article 239AA, because he has never been a lawyer. Incidentally, that very disqualification may be Kejriwal’s biggest qualification, but that is another story altogether.
There are other rules too that Kejriwal doesn’t know anything about. Section 22(3) of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act 1991, and Rule 55 (1) of Transaction of Business Rules (TBR) of Government of National Capital Territory Rules 1993, are two other examples. Those were the ones cited by Lieutenant Governor in his letter to Speaker, for disallowing the tabling and discussion of Jan Lokpal Bill, which was regarded as a Financial Bill due to its financial implications on the Centre, without his prior sanction.
Jung is not a lawyer, but studied History for his BA and MA at St. Stephen’s, and took his MSc in Social Policy & Planning from London School of Economics. If this ex-IAS officer can master such fine law points, ex-IRS officer Kejriwal too should have followed suit. Instead, he kept on harping that there was nothing unconstitutional in either his Jan Lokpal Bill or in the way it was tabled. He even took legal advice from four legal luminaries, who admitted that such a position from the Centre, can be contested but only in a court. Kejriwal obviously disregarded that going-to-court part of that advice.
Sure, as finally Kejriwal himself admitted in his farewell speech in the Delhi Assembly, they were freshers and they made mistakes. “When we came to this House we were newcomers. We thought we will learn from the seniors who are members of this House for so long. We admit we do not know the rules,” said the anti-corruption crusader before quitting as CM.
But such ignorance is limited to only Article 239AA or TBR, or such stuff. What about all the bigger rules that everyone in the establishment breaks day in and day out?
Just the day before his resignation, one MLA broke Kejriwal’s mike, tore some of his papers, and on the day of his resignation, a BJP MLA was seen grabbing and running away with Kejriwal’s papers, while he was out on an adjournment. Such behaviour may not have fancy names like Article XYZ or Section 000, but are even baser violations of democracy.
Or by what Article or Section name will one pin down the UPA-BJP-Ambani axis in the gas price scam? The issue is so complicated and divisive, with India standing to gain much and standing to lose much due to the price hike.
Only one thing is sure, which is that when there is big business like the Ambanis and the Establishment on the same side of an alleged scam, it calls for the most intricate of scrutiny.
Even the TBR has been violated by Sheila Dikshit when she tabled 13 bills without LG’s consent, and BJP had no objection, claims Kejriwal. But who knows she and BJP might have finer law points in their support.
Aam Aadmi and their leader Arvind Kejriwal don’t know such finer law points.
The real answer is that Sheila and BJP are parts of the Establishment, which the common man and Kejriwal are not.
However, the anarchist’s concluding remarks to the Establishment was telling.
"Remember, the people of the country will teach you a lesson. I pray to the Lord to bless us."