|Monday, April 10, 2000,
bowled & stumped
mistaking ends for means
of back channel diplomacy
April 10, 1925
THE biggest cricket controversy of the last century was bodyline. It came close to destroying diplomatic relations between England and Australia. But the case of match-fixing, which the Delhi Police claims to have worked out, has the potential to destroy international cricket itself. Of course, cricket as it was played in its original form was killed by Kerry Packer. The reinvented version, in which money is the prime mover, never had the resilience to keep the market forces at bay. The involvement of criminals in influencing the outcome of a game was waiting to be exposed. The Delhi Police has merely taken the lead in doing so. Ironically, the story was broken on the eve of the masala one-day match between an Asian XI and a World XI played at Dhaka, the chosen hotspot of West Bengal-based International Cricket Council President Jagmohan Dalmiya, for the global marketing of the game. Understandably, the international cricketing fraternity went into the disbelief mode on learning about Hansie Cronje's alleged role in contriving to lose some of the matches to hosts India in the just concluded five- match series. No sport journalist, administrator or current or past cricketer was and is willing to believe the story released with great fanfare to the Press by the police in Delhi on Friday. After all, he is the original Mr Clean of contemporary cricket. The fact that Cronje did not run out a batsman, who failed to make the crease after getting entangled with a fielder, was enough for the pundits to place him in the category of gentlemen-players, a fast vanishing species in the world of sport. He has inculcated the same values in his team-mates. Otherwise, Robin Singh could easily have been run out in one of the five games of the series which would now be remembered for the amazing case the Delhi Police has made out against the South African captain and three other players. Mr N.K.P. Salve, a former president of the BCCI, put the issue in perspective by pointing out that if the case against Cronje is proved, it would be taken as conclusive evidence of the game of cricket having become another version of the fixed WWF wrestling matches. However, if the case fails, international teams may refuse to play in India and Mr Dalmiya's grand dream of taking cricket to every part of the globe would turn into a nightmare.
There are far too many
loopholes in the story, willingly broken to the media,
for it to pass muster in a court of law. Unless, of
course, the police is holding back clinching evidence for
the right moment. The reason why the case has made the
BCCI bosses break into a cold sweat is the poor track
record of the Delhi Police in securing conviction in
cases investigated by it. There is general scepticism
about the match-fixing case too being proved. Even those
who believe that money does play a role in deciding the
outcome of international matches are not sure about the
ability of the Delhi Police to make out a foolproof case.
Nevertheless, match-fixing is an issue which should have
received serious attention of the BCCI and the ICC
immediately after Manoj Prabhakar claimed knowledge of
involvement of some Indian players in tanking matches. Is
it to be presumed that cricket has given birth to a
parallel economy and that there is enough dirty money in
circulation for buying the indifference of
those charged with the responsibility of administering
the game and keeping it clean? The BCCI could have smoked
out the guilty cricketers, if it was serious, even though
Prabhakar refused to give names. Individual players can
take money to play badly, but no match can be
fixed without the help of the captain. The
needle of suspicion, based on Prabhakar's charge,
continues to point in only one direction. Why the
diffidence in acting on Prabhakars complaint even
though Mr Raj Singh Dungarpur is no longer in a position
to pooh-pooh the allegations of corruption in Indian
cricket. The Pakistan cricket establishment too is
sitting over the report of a serving judge. For reasons
other than cricket no attempt has been made to punish
those found guilty by the judge. The Australian Cricket
Board tried to brush under the carpet the
information-for-money misdeeds of Shane Warne and Mark
Waugh, who figure in the list of all-time greats of the
last millennium. The initial reaction of Mr Ali Bacher of
the United Cricket Board of South Africa too was
predictable. However, the taped conversation on the eve
of the Faridabad match leaves no scope for doubt that
what Cronje was discussing with Sanjay Chawla, an Indian
bookie currently holed up in England, was anything but
cricket. The evidence garnered through the recording of
their conversation may not be enough to secure the
conviction of the bookies and the suspect cricketers.But
they do warrant a closer scrutiny by the UCB and the ICC.
Saying it is all rubbish will not do.
AN incurable allergy to organisational elections has been frequently diagnosed as the cause of the shrinking mass base of the Congress. This was evident all over again on Saturday when the party postponed internal elections by six weeks; hopefully the process should now end by May 31. The alibi trotted out is that the states which recently had assembly elections (Haryana and Bihar) and others like West Bengal and Karnataka have sought more time to complete the membership drive and prepare the voters list. But it is obvious that nobody is really excited about the election and anyway party units have disappeared a long ago in vast stretches of rural India. Name-plate branches do exist in urban areas but that is essentially to safeguard assets like building. Nobody remembers when election was last conducted for grassroots level units or for that matter to select AICC members. The practice has been to nominate members and then forget all about them. Genuine election was held for the Working Committee twice in the past decade at the Tirupati session in 1992 and at Calcutta in 1997. Mr Sitaram Kesri fought a keen battle with Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Rajesh Pilot to emerge as a winner. It was after a long time that the Congress President was formally chosen and it was not a case of he or she chose himself or herself and the party dutifully endorsed the self-selection. This was particularly so during the long years of Indira Gandhi leadership. After she threw out the old leadership she also cast away the old habit of holding regular elections. That mood is very much alive in the party even now, although the present dispensation has asked Mr Ram Niwas Mirdha, a fiercely independent man, to chair the party election authority and, as is his wont, he has imparted a modicum of dynamism into the process. But there is a limit to what an individual can do to resuscitate an inert tradition.
election is the essential first step to revive the
partys flagging appeal. If it is honestly
undertaken, the process will reveal the weak and strong
spots in various states. More, by its very nature, the
organisational election, in which individuals nominate
themselves, throws up new leaders and help-old veterans
renew their contact with village caste leaders. This will
be repeated at all levels. In fact only those parties
which energetically go through this democratic exercise
stay strong and for long years. Others just fade away.
The DMK in Tamil Nadu and the CPM in West Bengal and
Tripura attest to the first point while the long
forgotten socialists and more recently the Janata Dal
uphold the validity of the second. In the absence of
organisational election, Delhi-based former Ministers
strut around as mass leaders and indulge in coterie
politics. If threatened with marginalisation, they sulk
and become dissidents. Giving such leaders unaccustomed
freedom to express their opinion at CWC meetings has led
to dangerous groupism. One newspaper has put out a list
of the Sonia-loyalists, Sonia-baiters and fence-sitters
ready to become critics. Obviously there is much planting
of stories in the media, adding a big dose of confusion
to the loss of purpose and fear of doing a long term in
the opposition benches. The Congress has still a major
role as an authentic liberal force with nationwide
appeal. It will a pity if the party persists with
GOING by neo-liberal dogma, the Indian consumer has become the king! Under the just-announced export-import (Exim) policy for 2000-2001, he/she can freely smoke precious Davidoff cigars, eat Russian caviar or Mediterranean herbs, wear Mikimoto pearls with trendy French scarves, and serve dinner in real bone-china crockery or Waterford crystal. Our Chattering Classes can now import all the fancy clothing, kitchenware, music systems and electrical goods they eye on our 70 or 100 TV channels which beam opulent Western lifestyles.
They can even import full-fat milk, coffee, instant tea, chutneys, dog-food and exotic vegetables and fruits. To top it all, they dont even have to eat Indian rice, maize or wheat. They can import it. They can now live like true foreigners in India. Only the air they breathe and the water they consume (after due purification, of course) need be Indian. The rest can be imported at a duty peaking at 44 per cent.
That is the real significance of the direction Mr Murasoli Maran is giving to our exim policy by removing quantitative restrictions (QRs) on 714 items in keeping with a deal his government clandestinely made with the USA in December as a prelude to the Clinton visit. The QRs will be dismantled on a total of 1,429 items well ahead of the obligation to do so under GATT/WTO. To defend their balance of payments position, developing countries can maintain QRs until 2003 under the WTO. This too is open to negotiation and bargaining.
Mr Marans explanation for rejecting this option is as bland as it is arrogant. He told The Economic Times, quoting Anne Kruegeran ultra-conservative right-wing economist, whom even American free-marketeers find embarrassingly dogmatic that we are now a confident, resurgent India... we need not bother about... QRs. There are, he conceded, countries like Colombia and Sri Lanka which maintain QRs, but we do not want to be in this league never mind that Sri Lankas per capita GDP is more than double Indias.
Clearly, the hype inspired by the Clinton visit of resurgent India being one of the worlds 10 fastest-growing economies has made Mr Maran blind to some robust ground realities despite the stockmarket bubble bursting. In reality, India is among the bottom 40 in the UN Human Development Index ranking. Sixty per cent of Indians have less than $ 1 a day to spend. Over 50 million of them sank below the official poverty line in the past decade of 6 per cent GDP growth. The caviar, smoked ham or Waterford crystal freed from QRs is of (at best limited) significance to less than 0.1 per cent of the population. Such imports have no larger spinoffs or forward linkages in our economy.
However, Mr Maran sees nothing worrisome when rural employment growth thins down from 1.6 per cent to a mere 1.1 per cent; or that our domestic savings and investment rates decrease in the past three years by 3 percentage points. For the likes of Mr Maran, India is not a country of a billion people and 3,500 communities, with a rich culture and extraordinary diversity. It is only a disembodied, minuscule, Singapore the worlds third largest investor base with 20 million shareholders, 9,000 listed companies, 23 stock exchanges, market capitalisation of around $ 160 billion and liberal provisions for foreign institutional investors .... Foreign direct investment is absolutely critical to this India though: there can be no growth without FDI for which the current target is $ 10 billion.
This is totally out of sync with the reality. The FDI in this economy has never even equalled 1 per cent of the GDP. And yet there is such an FDI obsession that every Prime Minister, every Chief Minister, and every senior bureaucrat goes abroad begging for the FDI year after year. Never mind that Indias FDI flows this year are likely to be lower than last years $ 3.5 billion, and that according to investment consultant AT Kearney, Indias preference ranking for the worlds 1,000 biggest companies has dropped from six to 11 in the past six months. The FDI mantra must be chanted even though half the investment goes into mergers and acquisitions paper transactions.
Now Mr Maran has added a caviar dimension to the search for shortcuts to growth. In the process, he has jeopardised many Indian livelihoods, which could suffer as a result of dumping and predatory trade practices by foreign exporters. For instance, in the USA there is no market for chicken legs, only for breasts. Legs, an Indian favourite, will be exported from America at Rs 16 per kg against our domestic price of Rs 40. One need not shed too many tears for the poultry industry. But what about the millions of small farmers who could be ruined by wheat or rice imports? Should food security not come before free trade?
Mr Maran, like Mr Yashwant Sinha and Mr P. Chidambaram too believes that export-led growth should be the basis of our economic growth. There should be a paradigm shift so that the content of our export basket and the direction get changed. One of the two main instruments for achieving this is thrust areas: identified as gems and jewellery, leather, garments, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Lest you thought that resurgent Indias new growth areas are going to be technology-or-capital-intensive, stand corrected. We are still going to be capitalising on cheap labour and lowskilled processing areas which have remained unchanged over the past quarter-century (except pharmaceuticals).
The other main instrument of export-led growth will be Chinese-style special economic zones (SEZs), or free-market enclaves, where no Indian regulations barring labour laws would apply, and where there will be free movement of goods and capital. Mr Maran will lift all restrictions on foreign investment. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu will create two new SEZs and four existing zones will also be upgraded, including Santa Cruz (SEEPZ) in Mumbai.
However, SEZs have not proved effective motors of export promotion almost anywhere. For instance, ILO-sponsored studies show that the success of most such zones whether in the Philippines, Sri Lanka or Thailand, and China, Indonesia, South Korea or India is both very limited and based on undesirable practices such as absence of labour protection, smashing of trade unions, unsafe and inhuman working conditions (e.g. toy factory infernos killing hundreds of locked-up workers in China and Thailand). In China, SEZs function largely as export platforms for cheap labour-based production and are marked by questionable practices.
In India, export processing zones (EPZs) have long been a story of appalling working conditions and of failures, only temporarily relieved by generous state doleouts and concessions to sell in the domestic market. SEEPZ is now successful not as the electronics export zone it was to be, but as a computer software base, which is independently viable and only happens to be located at Santa Cruz.
It is hard to believe that SEZs will be magically more successful than EPZs. And it is even harder not to see the violent contradiction between advocacy of free market laissez faire, and export promotion as a deliberate, conscious policy. But our neo-liberals inconsistently do both. They are guilty of three big errors. They forget that historically, market forces alone have never produced real development or balanced growth anywhere. Typically, judicious state intervention, including the protection of nascent industry, has always been necessary to spur growth, push investment into capital-poor areas, and discipline capital.
The first theorem of development economics established by people like Amartya Sen is that the state is even more important in poverty alleviation. Growth alone cannot abolish mass-scale poverty and deprivation. Public action is indispensable. Second, there are no pathways to rapid growth which bypass the vast majority of people and concentrate on small enclaves or social groups. That is the road that some East Asian miracle economies took to disastrous effect, as the great crash two years ago showed. And third, no amount of MacDonaldisation (reliance upon the consumerist-oriented FDI) can really broaden consumer choice or bring in new technology. It cannot create competitive conditions for healthy growth.
On this last point, the evidence is overwhelming. Chemicalised junk food has done a lot to deforest the Amazon basin, and degrade public taste and quality of nutrition, but little to promote competition and choice. Indeed, MacDonalds commits uncompetitive, anti-union and market-domineering practices. In country after country, it has consciously manipulated peoples especially childrens tastes. In Japan, it miniaturised the hamburger to make it resemble highly-valued sushi. And in India, it is about to launch highly unethical advertisements directed at five-year-olds, intended to prove that burgers improve self-confidence and academic performance!
MacCulture is not the
way ahead for us. That way can only lie in addressing our
peoples needs, providing food, income and
employment security, and reducing inequalities of income
and opportunity. Our current policies will take us in the
opposite direction while distorting values and creating
terrible social dissonances. Caviar capitalism has failed
miserably in the country that produces the worlds
best caviar Russia. It is doomed here too.
and icy realities
HAILED as the techi triad of Information, Communications and Entertainment, this ICE age is all set to overrun the mindscape of the global Indian Netizen who is going ga-ga over the immense potential which the Internet revolution is supposed to create and sustain. We may not know all the answers. Yet we must ask the right questions. Many may ask if the Internet is a fleeting fancy or something with a solid base. Is the current hype and hoopla a case of globalisation of insanity, affluenza or just irrational exuberance? How long will the technological bubble last?
Be that as it may, let us look at the entire gamut of issues in the Indian context. After the boom, ran a newspaper report, doom faces those 15000 Indian IT professionals in USA, who were specifically hired as Y-2K fixers in the latter half of 1999. With the millennium bug having come and gone, they have been left high and dry, hunting for employment elsewhere. Germany might agree to take them through body shopping or they may return home to acquire work permits afresh for some more generalised IT work.
Consolidating Indias role as a supplier of services and professionals involves huge costs in educating them. On the other hand, the existing Indo-US arrangements and the proposed approaches concentrate on the advantages India has at the lower end of the skill hierarchy entailing relatively lower labour costs. For instance, India becomes an ideal place to locate services that are required at night in the USA. Thus low-skilled knowledge workers are more in demand than the high-skilled ones. Likewise, we may have an abundance of IT projects being carried out to others specifications but have very few products which we can call truly Indian. We have more marketing managers than programmers, better computer trained secretaries than better programmers. All this does not portend well for India emerging as an independent knowledge industry power. This rather reduces us to the secondary role of a service provider to the US economy. Inter-dependence rather than domination should characterise Indo-US relations.
We would do well to appreciate that information technology (IT) is at best a tool to enhance productivity. The much-hyped information highways and super-highways cannot become a substitute for the brick and mortar highways so essential to efficiently transport goods and services. Sans the socio-economic sector and infrastructure development, especially agriculture, all talk of knowledge industry is just hot air. The non-starter second generation reforms ought to focus on extensively and intensively tapping the technology to speed up the snail-paced government transactions. Faster clearances and quicker decision-making should weed out systemic corruption and give a fillip to the entrepreneurial spirit at home and abroad. IT can help achieve optimum utilisation of our scarce assets and infrastructure. It can be used to improve tax collection. The decision to allot a permanent account number (PAN) to tax payees needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. Judicial delays will be significantly curtailed if e-mail is used to serve notices and speed up trials.
It has been reported that if corruption levels in India are reduced to those in Scandinavian countries, the investment rate could increase by 12 per cent and the GDP growth rate by 1.5 per cent annually.
Today America is celebrating its longest period of continuous growth in history. What made it emerge from the pervasive gloom of the early 1990s and post surprising surpluses in best explained in terms of phenomenal productivity revolution. Investment in computer, communications and technology dramatically enhanced output per worker who, meanwhile, significantly upgraded his skills. Externalities such as the end of the Cold War, lowering of trade barriers and cheap immigrant knowledge worker provided the necessary impetus. To cap it all was indeed the American adventurism and the will to succeed.
It would be instructive to note that Internet brought about manifold efficiency improvement. Ford Motor Co hopes to vastly improve productivity by replacing an elaborate network of personal contracts and triplicate forms with a global electronic forum where deals can be struck almost instantly. Trillions of dollars will be saved by the manufacturing companies in the areas of delivery and purchases alone. But the biggest investment would be required in reshaping the companies to move at Net speed, assert experts. Farmers and transporters shall benefit immensely by offering their goods and services at most profitable locations. Collecting information on customers and using it to fine-tune marketing or modify the product design could be another powerful Net application.
All this presupposes putting in place basic minimum standards of cost, quality and efficiency in the goods and services sector so that IT tools may build upon them and hone their global competitive edge. India is yet to graduate to that threshold level. The current obsession with the IT-based economy to the exclusion of the so-called brick and mortar economy is just a passing phase.
Besides, lack of Internet infrastructure, widespread illiteracy, absence of cyber laws and real or perceived security risks are proving to be major deterrents to the promotion of e-commerce in India. A string of recent hack attacks have already shaken e-business confidence. We are not at the same stage as the USA. We have miles to go.
If the IT revolution in
India is to go beyond hype and hobby horse syndrome, it
should encompass, not bypass, the bulk of the population.
China is all set to overtake India by 2001. ICE, the
three-latter buzzword, is the way of the future.
THE Shatabdi is a popular train. Also a familiar rendezvous. On this train, I have met many an old acquaintance and friends. Purely by chance. One day, I met an old college mate. A pleasant person. A senior civil servant. Known for his ability and integrity.
We talked. About various things. Tennis. Yoga. The families. Ultimately, even about the affairs of the state. Starting with the civil secretariat. The massive building. The mass of cement, concrete and steel. The matchbox design of the sunbreakers. The way it is furnished. Before long, we were talking about the large number of men and women, employed by the government. The mass of men who pass of as civil servants. Also, about the unfortunate mess we are in.
They are employed to govern the state. To serve the people. Are they able to even govern themselves? They go on strike at the drop of a hat. Mostly, they are agitating and litigating. Do they serve anyone except their own interests? Do they have any concern for the poor taxpayer? I asked. Before he could say a word, I narrated what I had seen during a visit to the Secretariat. There were men and women everywhere. Of all ages. Some in uniform. Probably, to provide security. Those in plain clothes were just moving around. As if they had nothing to do. Most of them seemed to be going to or coming from the canteen. Even those in their seats were not working. They were busy in the national pastime chatting and criticising. At 10 in the morning.
And then, I asked: Have they no work to do? What is the total revenue that the bureaucracy collects for the state?
Something in the region of six thousand crores.
What is the annual salary bill?
About 60 per cent.
Is the remaining 40 per cent enough to meet the cost of perks like the cars, the kothis, the telephones and all else that goes with a government job?
Is this a regional or the national pattern?
Broadly, the picture is the same all over.
If this is the fact situation, the citizen is bound to feel concerned. Is not the cost of governance too high? How do we justify so much of expense for so little of service? Is it not bad economics?
Yes. But, the government does not work for profit. It does not open schools, colleges or hospitals to make money. The state works for the common mans good. It provides jobs to the unemployed youth of the country. It exists to help the needy and not the greedy.
How can it be? Is the government not a trustee for the citizens money? Does it not follow the basic rule of the maximum return on the minimum investment? Should the government not reduce the cost of governance? How is the state helping the people by merely employing the unemployed and allowing them to remain idle? Would it not be better to set up small-scale industrial units with the amount of money that is spent on paying salaries to the surplus staff? Is it not because of too many employees that we have too little of efficiency? And how much are we really spending on schools and hospitals? Most of the time, the teachers are not there in the schools. There are no medicines in the hospitals. In fact, where is the money for opening the schools and hospitals after paying the salaries? The government has to take loans to run the available facilities. Is it not so? Do we not need to reduce our cost of governance? For example, by running local buses instead of so many official cars. Shall it not help you save on precious petrol and maintenance of cars?
These are necessities. The government has to provide cars and houses to the officers. Nobody can give his best unless, he is assured of proper working conditions and security of job, said my dear friend.
How can we afford all this paraphernalia? Do we have the resources? Are we not a poor people? How long shall we continue to beg, borrow and spend? When shall we begin to work? To produce more? To be at least self-sufficient? Do we have no sense of self-respect or national pride? How can our leaders go around with a beggars bowl every year? Does it not hurt us anymore?
We have no choice. We need money. We have to borrow. We have to look for aid from every possible quarter. Otherwise, there is no way out.
Why can we not cut our costs? Do we not have too many ministries with too little to minister? Too many servants and too little of service? How long shall we continue to rob Peter to pay Paul?
I was unable to convince
my friend. However, I have no doubt that something has to
be done. Immediately. Let not our extravagance make us
totally dependent on foreign aid. Let us act. Before, the
syndrome overtakes and we completely lose our strength
and resistance. Otherwise, the economic aid shall be
worse than the AIDS.
mistaking ends for means
THE maintenance of efficiency of judicial administration, declared the Supreme Court last month, is entirely within the control and jurisdiction of the High Court as laid down by Article 235 (of the Constitution). The State legislature, on its own, would obviously lack the expertise and the knowledge based on experience of judicial administration which is possessed by the High Court. Consequently... it cannot, in exercise of its supposed paramount legislative power, enact any rule of thumb and provide a fixed percentage of reservation for SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes in judicial services (subordinate to the High Court).....
It is thus the High Court in each State alone which can give the green signal regarding the extent of reservation, if any, to be made in appointments to the district and subordinate judiciary in that State.
In the absence of such a green signal by the High Court, there would be no occasion (says the Supreme Court, for the government or the legislature) to invoke Article 16 (4) read with Article 335 of the Constitution to reserve any such appointments by way of affirmative action.
This, the verdict of a split Constitution Bench in State of Bihar vs Bal Mukund Sah and others, is now the law of the land. A verdict which, both in inspiration and impact, stems the march of populism in a society riven by the politics of caste, or halts it at least at the judicial doorstep.
And even as I welcomed it last time for considerations that are essentially practical, a position that I still maintain, some of the more obvious difficulties in accepting its principal theoretical postulate the complete denial of the power of legislation under Article 309 in relation to judicial appointments covered by Articles 233 and 234 must now be indicated.
The repeated clubbing of the two latter provisions, Articles 233 and 234, described any number of times as a complete code for recruitment of district and subordinate judges, and contraposing them both to Article 309 as if they are Siamese twins, is the biggest fallacy underlying the majority judgement.
Whatever be the bone of contention reservations or anything less sensitive or volatile and however adverse the impact on judicial independence (or autarky), it is impossible to obliterate the distinction between Articles 233 and 234 as the Supreme Court has done.
The distinction is crucial to the applicability of Article 309.
Like Article 309 (which deals with public services generally), Article 234 expressly confers a rule-making power on the Governor of a State with regard to appointment of judicial officers other than district judges.
To be exercised by the Governor after consultation with the High Court and the State Public Service Commission, this rule-making power excludes, by necessary implication, the Governors general rule-making power under Article 309.
Or to put it differently, the purpose of Article 309 is equally well served by Article 234 itself in relation to its own subject matter. The Constitution does not intend a redundancy.
The imperative of consultation with the High Court, the subject matter being judicial appointments, also excludes by necessary implication the legislatures power of legislation under Article 309.
For while the Governor (or government) is practically or institutionally capable of consulting someone else, the legislature being such a large and amorphous body can hardly be said to be capable of meeting that obligation. Whether this or in any other context, who on behalf of the legislature would effect such consultation is a question constitutional jurisprudence has been unable till date to answer.
What is true, however, of Article 234 is simply not true of Article 233, whether we like it or not.
Dealing with appointment of district judges whether by promotion from subordinate judicial officers or directly from the bar, it neither grants (or touches the issue of grant of) any power of delegated legislation or rule-making power to any authority, Governor, High Court or Public Service Commission, nor contemplates in any manner any activity by the parent legislature on the subject.
To hold that such a provision, totally silent on the point and totally different from Article 234 in its structure and choice of words, has nonetheless the same consequence the complete exclusion of Article 309, both the power of parent legislation and the power of delegated legislation only because any other consequence would impinge upon judicial independence is to substitute policy for interpretation and to mistake the end for the means.
Such larger considerations apart, if the legislature cannot legislate and the Governor cannot make rules for the recruitment of district judges, who on earth can? For the High Court itself has no such power whether under Article 233 or Article 234. Nor, for that matter, under Article 235.
And how, in the absence of any such law or rules, would the High Court, any High Court, proceed to fill up vacancies and make appointments to the district judiciary?
back channel diplomacy
THE BBC reported that a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Mr Niaz Naik, has unexpectedly arrived in Delhi and that the visit comes after a Pakistani proposal for talks about the conflict in Kashmir, and a call by President Clinton for the two countries to resume dialogue to reduce tension in the region. Mr Niaz Naik did come to India but, unlike last year, the visit had nothing to do with the resumption of talks nor was his arrival unexpected. The former Foreign Secretary, known as the master of back channel diplomacy, has been a frequent visitor to India and the ostensible purpose of his visit last week was to attend a meeting of the Coalition for Action on South Asian Cooperation (CASAC). Punjab-born and Bombay-educated Niaz Naik has wide circles of friends in India. He had also a successful stint as Pakistans High Commissioner in Delhi.
The BBC was, evidently, wide off the mark in its speculation that the visit might be the start of efforts to break the deadlock in relations between the two countries. Mr Niaz Naik was, after all, instrumental in opening formal contacts between New Delhi and Islamabad last year and, given his track record in back channel diplomacy, his unpublicised visit to India again is bound to lead to varied interpretations. The BBC might have got the cue from Pakistans largely circulated daily Jang; the paper was first to disclose that Mr Niaz Naik was going to India to open channel of talks.
Reports say during his two-day stay in Delhi, Mr Niaz Naik, apparently, send feelers to Indian representatives at CASAC about the prospects of meeting National Security Adviser Barajesh Mishra, Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh and, if possible, an audience with the Prime Minister. The matter was not pursued in view of the strong position of India on the issue of Pakistan-sponsored militancy in Kashmir.
Mr Niaz Naik is known to be a versatile genius in the world of diplomacy and acquired the image of the most competent diplomat in Pakistan. A remarkable trait of his personality is that he could gain the confidence of both democratically elected head of the government and military rulers of Pakistan. Both Z.A. Bhutto and Zia-ul-Haq trusted him, was close to Benazir Bhutto as well as Nawaz Sharif and now, to everybodys dismay, he turns out to be a confidant of Gen Pervez Musarraf. In Pakistan he is described as a man of all seasons, a man of all political parties and a man of all Generals.
Some of his friends suspect that even though Mr Nawaz Sharif reposed confidence in him and sent him to New Delhi to open channel of dialogue with the Indian government culminating in Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees much hyped visit to Lahore, he was, at the same time, keeping the Pakistan army informed of the developments. It is believed that since then the feeling of mistrust started between Mr Nawaz Sharif and Gen Pervez Musarraf.
Mr Niaz Naik was also quoted as saying last year that India and Pakistan have set up a secret channel to try to resolve the Kashmir dispute by the end of the year 1999 and that in order to make progress the two countries decided to avoid working through their foreign offices. Denial of such reports was inevitable but the back channel diplomacy was exposed during the Kargil conflict.
Mr Naik came to the limelight during Gen Zias tenure when he was appointed the foreign secretary. In fact, he became the right hand man of the military ruler and Pakistans foreign policy those days was believed to be formulated by him. The cricket diplomacy and mango basket diplomacy were believed to be his brainchild. Come Benazir Bhutto in power and he gained her confidence. His close friends say that Benazir did not trust him fully but had to rely on him because of his competence and diplomatic skill. Mr Nawaz Sharif too had a lurking suspicion about Mr Naiks loyalty but, according to a Pakistan expert, the former Prime Minister thought Naik will be more dangerous if pushed to the side of his opponents and kept him on the right side.
Now 70, Mr Niaz Naik is a bachelor and so is his brother, a former Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan. Both brothers live under one roof. Though known to be a hardliner, a diehard in Indo-Pak diplomacy, he is not a staunch Muslim. In fact, he does not consider himself a Muslim; drinks in public and does not make a secret of it. He openly says, he is not a Namazi. Also his friends say he has been influenced by Buddhist thought and philosophy.
His friends in Delhi
recall that on a mid-summer day, he visited the coffee
shop of Hotel Taj and asked for a bottle of beer. Those
days Delhi was declared dry by Morarji Desai and liquor
was served only to foreigners. Apparently, the waiter
thought, he was an Indian and declined to serve the
drink. A friend accompanying him told the waiter:
Sahib Pakistani hain, Hindustani nahin. The
waiter shouted from near his table Sahib Pakistani
hain. The beer was served but Naik was embarrassed
damning the waiter for proclaiming his identity so loudly
that almost everyone in the coffee shop could hear. The
waiter had, evidently, acted most undiplomatically with
an accomplished diplomat.
IN two parallel columns yesterday we reproduced two notifications published in two Extraordinary issues of the Gazette of India, one announcing the certification of the Bill to supplement the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1925, and the other embodying the declaration of the Governor-General regarding certain demands refused by the Assembly.
Together the two notifications contain as conclusive a proof of the unsubstantiality of the Reforms as could possibly be afforded by any two things in a compendious from.
They are a striking
commentary on the claim put forward by Lord Reading and
the Duke of Connaught three years ago that the Reforms
had led to the disappearance of autocracy. Autocracy, in
fact, is as much the governing factor in Indian politics
as it ever was in the past.
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