उच्चतम न्यायालय के बहुमत ने ‘आधार’ पर दिये गए हालिया फैसले में सरकारी योजनाओं, सब्सिडी इत्यादि का लाभ लेने के लिए आधार अनिवार्य करने के सरकारी फैसले को सही ठहराया है। इस के साथ ही आयकर दाता के लिए भी आधार अनिवार्य कर दिया है। इस के अलावा बाकी जगह इस के प्रयोग को अवैध ठहरा दिया है; अब न मोबाइल फोन और न बैंक खातों के लिए यह ज़रूरी रहेगा। न निजी कंपनियाँ इसे मांग या प्रयोग कर पाएँगी। यह सब अब बच्चा बच्चा जानता है। सवाल यह है कि इस परिस्थिति में अब आधार का क्या प्रयोजन बचा है?
सरकार ने अदालत में आधार को कर-चोरी, काले-धन और आतंकवाद के खिलाफ लड़ाई और राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा के लिए एक सशक्त हथियार के तौर पर प्रस्तुत किया है (बहुमत समेत तीनों फैसलों की एक संयुक्त फाइल का पृष्ठ 1095-6)। काले-धन के खिलाफ लड़ाई के लिए बैंक खातों और पैन को आधार से जोड़ना अनिवार्य किया गया था। आतंकवाद से लड़ने एवं राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा के लिए मोबाइल फोन के लिए आधार अनिवार्य किया गया था। अब जब बैंक खातों और मोबाइल फोन के लिए आधार अनिवार्य नहीं रहा, तो अब आधार इन दोनों उद्देश्यों की पूर्ति के लिए किसी काम का नहीं रहा। लोगों के छद्म नाम से कई-कई खाते चलते रहेंगे और काले धंधे का कारोबार जैसे अब तक चलता रहा है, वैसे ही चलता रहेगा। आयकर दाता के लिए आधार अनिवार्य करने से काले धंधे और काली कमाई पर कोई खास फर्क नहीं पड़ेगा। अदालत के आधार को वैध ठहराने वाले एक जज ने भी अपने फैसले में कहा है कि बैंक खाता और पैन कार्ड दोनों का लिंक होना ही प्रभावी होगा (अकेला पैन कार्ड नहीं; इस लिए उन्होने बैंक खातों के लिए भी आधार को वैध ठहराया है हालांकि अल्पमत होने के चलते उन के फैसले का यह अंश प्रभावी नहीं होगा (पृष्ठ 55 माननीय जज अशोक भूषण के फैसले का/पृष्ठ 1103 तीनों फैसलों की संयुक्त फाइल का)। Continue reading ‘आधार’ न बचा, न मरा, बचा केवल मदमस्त सफ़ेद हाथी : राजेन्द्र चौधरी→
There is all around jubilation in the anti-BJP, particularly the Congress camp that the Supreme Court has cut short the time given to Yediyurappa by the Governor to prove his majority from 15 days to 24 hours. This jubilation is extremely myopic and self serving and is in no way rooted in the tall claims that the Congress has been making about trying to save the Constitution. All the Supreme Court order does is reduce the window of opportunity for the BJP to indulge in horse trading and increase the chances of the Congress-JDS combine to keep their flock together and win the assembly – and also substantially reduce the resort costs.
It is often advised that civil disobedience in the form of breaking a law must not be practiced under a democracy. It is because democracy by giving the space for open discussion prevents a situation wherein people are compelled to think of civil disobedience. Moreover, if citizens develop faith in civil disobedience then that only undermines the rule of law. Such an act doesn’t strengthen democracy but rather helps in diminishing its ethos. People must be discouraged to break laws because in a democracy, it is they who elect their representatives through free and fair elections. These representatives then make laws to which open disobedience must not be practiced. Citizens can also vote for change of leadership in the subsequent election cycle, if they feel their representatives have been incompetent. However, while these provisions fulfil the conditions of a well functioning procedural democracy, what recourse do citizens have, when their representatives don’t act in the interest of the governed continuously but function in an autocratic manner? What if laws are made without following the spirit of democracy? Does that really result in making a substantive democracy?
A version of this piece appeared yesterday in The Wire
“I would like to thank Huddersfield University for enabling me to have a sabbatical semester to work on this revised edition and for providing such a supportive environment. Thanks to many of the students on my Women, Power and Society module for their hard work and enthusiasm.”
That is the dedication in a book by British scholar and teacher Valerie Bryson – a text I often use for teaching at a college in Delhi University. Evidently, Bryson found her teaching and research lives complementing each other beautifully, as have thousands of university and college teachers who have had the luck to have what she calls a “supportive” professional and academic environment. What are the elements of this support? A sabbatical semester or year every once in a while, ready research facilities within the college premises or nearby, and an opportunity to formulate teaching courses that ally with your research focus. With these elements in place, both teaching and research benefit dramatically.
Until recently, college teachers in this country had the first two conditions. They were given in their entire careers – say from the age of 26 or 27 when one normally began teaching at a college to the age of 65 – three years of paid study leave to pursue or finish their PhDs (with the usual conditions and caveats including a strict bond that they signed with college promising to return the three years’ pay if the PhD remained incomplete, or if they resigned upon return to the institution) and a further two years of (until recently, paid and now invariably unpaid or “extraordinary”) leave to take a break from teaching and pursue a postdoctoral or visiting fellowship at a research institute.
Following is the text of the open letter by members of the EPW Community addressed to Sameeksha Trust
As long-standing well-wishers and members of the intellectual community served by the EPW, we are appalled and dismayed by the recent events leading to the abrupt resignation of the Editor, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.
We are distressed that the Board of the Sameeksha Trust has insisted that the Editor retract an article published in the journal, and is preparing to introduce new norms for the Board-Editor relationship and appoint a co-editor. It is obvious that, taken together, these actions (mentioned by the Editor in interviews to the press and not denied in the statement issued by the Trust) would force any self-respecting editor to resign. By failing to distinguish between internal issues of procedural propriety in Board-Editor relationship from the much larger question of the EPW’s public reputation for integrity, the Board of the Sameeksha Trust has dealt a strong blow to the journal’s credibility. Continue reading Open Letter to the Board Members of the Sameeksha Trust→
My friend Guddi has a great story about a Gujjar wedding she attended recently in Ghaziabad. It was a typically chaotic event, marked accurately by the swirling crowds around the dinner stalls. If Gujjar weddings are chaotic and the dinner doubly so, the scene around the tandoor is triply compounded chaos. Barely concealed competition amongst overmuscled Gujjar men in overtight pants for that precious hot roti ensures that none but the most Hobbesian men remain, circling the tandoor like hungry wolves, periodically thrusting their plate forward like fencing champions and shouting obscenities at the harried servers. In such a heart-stopping scenario, a young server had as Guddi recounts, figured out the formula to keep everybody from killing each other (or him). As soon as the roti would be pulled out of the tandoor, seductively golden brown and sizzling, this man would hold it high up with his tongs so everybody could see, then in an elaborate dance-like ritual, touch each of the empty extended plates in front of him with the roti, and finally, in a mysterious but authoritative decision, place it respectfully on a randomly selected plate. Repeat with every single roti that emerged from the tandoor. A hushed silence followed by nervous laughter followed every such flourish.