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Updated: May 7, 2013 11:41 IST

The false allure of liberating CBI

Harish Khare
Comment (68)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

A law minister’s mistakes cannot be used to introduce an institutional imbalance by creating an autonomous policeman through judicial intervention

As a nation we remain self-absorbed in our own hypocrisies. And perhaps there is no greater misconceived a hypocrisy than the notion that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be — and, can be — functionally independent of the political executive of the Union. But our politically correct commentators and other noisemakers are obsessed with an “autonomous” CBI as a panacea for misgovernance; and, the politicians, when in opposition, decry the “political misuse” of the agency but once in office cheerfully lord over the CBI. Let us only recall how after L.K. Advani had manoeuvred to become the deputy prime minister during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, he strenuously tried to grab the CBI and bring it under his control, but that old fox, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was shrewd enough not to let go of this investigative instrument. Indeed, no Prime Minister in his or her right political senses would let rivals control an asset like the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Time for moderation

Therefore, it would be a great misinterpretation of the constitutional scheme of things if a section of the judiciary were to seize upon the Union Law Minister’s supercilious stupidities to prise the CBI from the political executive. Admittedly, the incumbent Law Minister is punching way above his weight and has over the last few months demonstrated himself to be lacking that fine balance of temperament and competence that is so essential in a sensitive ministerial assignment. In normal circumstances, the Prime Minister would have perhaps sought the Law Minister’s resignation for having committed a grave impropriety, but these are not normal times. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its present, destructively self-righteous mood, has bayed for the Law Minister’s blood a bit too loudly. An Opposition that does not believe in moderation cannot hope to shame the ruling party into doing the right thing.

Neither the BJP’s practised cussedness nor the United Progressive Alliance’s habitual obduracy should weigh heavily with the judiciary; there is certainly no reason for the judiciary to get too distracted by the political noise in the matter of the so-called coal allocation scam to try and manufacture an artificial and unsustainable “autonomy” for the CBI. If there was a time for moderation in judicial pronouncements and comments, it is now.

It was P.V. Narasimha Rao who cynically used the CBI to embroil his rivals within the Congress Party in the Hawala case. So blatant was this misuse of prime ministerial authority that the late Justice J.S. Verma seized a PIL case to pronounce a new doctrine of maximalist distrust. The court, quoting from its earlier verdict (in the case of Union of India and others versus Sushil Kumar Modi and others, 1997), insisted on ensuring “performance of the statutory duty by the CBI and the other government agencies in accordance with the law for the proper implementation of the rule of law. To achieve this object, a fair, honest and expeditious investigation into every reasonable accusation against each and every person reasonably suspected of involvement in the alleged offence has to be made strictly in accordance with the law.”

Since the Hawala case, an entire generation of higher judges has been in thrall of the idea of laying down what the CBI can and cannot do. The Hawala ruling prompted a new Central Vigilance Commission regime and for a while we applauded ourselves for having struck a blow against corruption among public servants. But given our addiction to this or that hypocrisy, we pretend that such judicial interventions have had a long-term salutary effect on matters that are essentially political in nature.

It is also an unfortunate fact that since the mid-1990s, there has been no Central government strong enough nor a Prime Minister so assured of the support of his own party and coalition partners that he would protest encroachment of the executive’s prerogatives. Judicial interventions have only encouraged the PIL-industry to make a nuisance of itself at the behest of corporate rivals.

Lok Pal debate

In the recent Lok Pal debate, the government and the Opposition were silently united in rejecting the demand that the CBI be brought under the proposed ombudsman. It was a rare display of political common sense so essential to sustained statecraft.

Undoubtedly, the political class is a rather unattractive lot and the middle classes are always willing to set policemen “free” from the presumed clutches of the elected politician. It is an attractive proposition that the “professional” police officer would be an honest, scrupulous, law-abiding and justice-dispensing public servant, and would hold his own against the errant politician. Hence, periodic judicial efforts to intervene or “oversee” investigations.

All these essays in judicial meddlesomeness have produced only a massive hypocrisy: the political supervision of the CBI got driven underground, while everybody pretends that the agency has been set “free.” A legitimate relationship of consultative advice — between the political executive and an investigating agency — has been rendered somewhat suspect; therefore, the communication and command rites are performed away from the public gaze. Whatever the colour of the government in New Delhi, its political managers were always anxious — and, rightly so — to ensure that the agency was not manipulated by rivals.

There is a history to this anxiety. Since the Allahabad High Court judgment against Indira Gandhi in 1975, sections of the judiciary have been happy to entertain political rivals using courts to settle scores and contests which otherwise should be sorted out in the electoral arena or in Parliament. A judicial pronouncement — even an oral observation would do — is seized upon to demand this or that functionary’s ouster from office. Every judicial pronouncement is seized upon to unleash a furious debate, generate indignation and anger, feeding distrust and discontent among the citizens towards lawfully constituted constitutional authority.

This over-reliance on finding a judicial solution to the abuse of power by ministers and bureaucrats has come at the expense of Parliament as the ultimate institution of accountability and democratic legitimacy. Rather than raise matters of ministerial transgressions in Parliament and make the Prime Minister explain his colleagues’ misdemeanours, the Opposition disrupts and stalls the functioning of the legislative institution. Political partisanship strangulates any debate over the merit or demerit in an alleged misdeed. Political leaders, from Prime Minister downward, are no longer willing to sit in moral judgment over this minister’s or that bureaucrat’s presumed guilt, because everyone assumes that sooner or later, the matter would end up in a court of law. The notions of democratic accountability and political responsibility stand considerably diluted.

Accountability

Given the context of this political culture of suspicion and accusation, it would be tempting to judicially “liberate” the CBI. This can only produce an institutional disequilibrium of the most unhelpful kind. Any democratic society should be very suspicious of a policeman, however competent a professional he may be, with powers to determine political life and death. As it is, we have yet to evolve a code of conduct for an ever enlarging plethora of regulators and independent commissions. Everyone goes about hypocritically believing that we have found the magic formula to make honest appointments of honest individuals to such “institutions.”

Once an appointment has been wangled, then it is entirely open to an incumbent to take a maximum or a minimal view of his or her brief. We are becoming wise to another aberration: the potential — and, in a few cases, the reality — of a corporate house suborning these so-called “independent” authorities. Before we succumb once again to the allurement of installing unelected gods as our saviours, let us just remember that it is easy to proclaim and grab “independence” but it is much more difficult a task to produce the requisite institutional culture, anchored in balance, fairness and rectitude. That balance can be produced and enforced only by democratic processes of accountability. This balance can neither be produced nor imposed by a court.

(Harish Khare is a senior journalist, political analyst and former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He is currently a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow).

This article has been corrected for typographical errors.

More In: Lead | Opinion

In this article, Khare has finally observed that "Before we succumb
once again to the allurement of installing unelected gods as our
saviors, let us just remember that is easy to proclaim and grab
“independence” but it is much more difficult a task to produce the
requisite institutional culture, anchored in balance, fairness and
rectitude. That balance can be produced and enforced only by
democratic processes of accountability. This balance can neither be
produced nor imposed by a court." I entirely agree with Mr.Khare for
his article. He is not biased towards Congress party or UPA
government. He has thoroughly analysed all the facts. We cannot clip
the wings of the executive by making it a truncated one. Of course,
the CBI is free to conduct its investigation independently and without
interference from anybody from the executive. We cannot expect the
judiciary to step into the shoes of the executive to liberate the CBI
from misuse. It is for the executive to take corrective steps.

from:  Job Anbalagan
Posted on: May 9, 2013 at 11:45 IST

similarly you won't want police to be independent and that's why even after seven years of Supreme Court judgement, police reforms are pending.
we have a system of checks and balance. the judiciary is coming strongly because our legislature is non-functional and executives are weak or corrupt. If we had a working parliament, there won't be no need for Honble Supreme court to every day direct the govt about how and what to do. Its actually the govt which is hiding behind Supreme Court for taking any strong step.

from:  pradeep
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 22:50 IST

Other than last few questions article doesnt make any logical argument
to base it on some foundation. His denial of CBI independence from govt
is not hilarious but also raised questions as he held media adviser post
to PM. If that is the attitude of people with high approach, does not it
reflect the true objective of rulers too?

from:  Vivek Khare
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 21:24 IST

@vishwa, nailed it. Each time after reading Mr. Khare's hilarious analysis, I always
wonder how Hindu can publish these totally illogical articles.

from:  Vinci
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 09:48 IST

When I filed a Whistle-blower complaint with the CVC and also with
CBI(Economic Offences wing),against institutionalised defrauding of
Govt funds in the Corporation I was then serving,senior bureaucrats
got wind of the complaint-possibly through their links.I received
official email from CBI,asking for further details.separately,I got an
SMS from CVC's VIGEYE system,with a Registration number.After
additional details were sent(only to CBI),I received an unceremonious
SMS from the CVC rejecting my complaint.This was followed by silence
from CBI.shortly thereafter,my services were terminated-no reasons-and
police personnel posted at the gate preventing my entry.The original
complaint included documents intercepted-from one of the 25 vessels
operated by the Corporation-on how 4000Ltrs of new lube-oil supplied
by IOC was immediately sold to a selected vendor-as waste oil.The
price differential-Rs 210 for new oil versus Rs7 for waste
oil.

from:  Alex Thomas
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 09:17 IST

This article has double-think points in it. Not properly written. Arguments presented
are self defeating. Media is accused of playing into the hands of paying masters during
2G scam, Nira Radia episodes. I hope this is not one of those *influenced over phone*
to sway public opinion articles. CBI is only one of the policeman the state owns. It can
serve better by being independant. Checks and balances can be incorporated while
liberating the watchmen. Not doing so is hugely damaging.

from:  Amatya
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 07:28 IST

The author forgets that CBI is just an investigating agency. The
prosecution still lies with the judiciary. Making CBI independent will
enable it to investigate anyone, be it on the ruling side or
opposition, without any fear. Harping on how the CBI had also been
misused by the rival parties when they were in power is not an excuse
for not fixing that problem now.

Defending the Congress government at any cost and mongering fear about
any alternative solutions seems to have become the staple of this
author. How about acknowledging problems and suggesting solutions once
in a while? Maybe that's too much to expect from this former media
advisor to PM Manmohan Singh.

from:  Sanjog Achuthan
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 02:54 IST

the authors stance is highly contradictory to the current scheme of
indian politics.the cbi is a body created out of poltical executive,in
other words it acts as a servant to his master as pointed out by the
author on numerous occasion,this in a way dilutes the very exixtence
of the cbi.the cbi should be made a statuary body(created by the
parliament)on the lines of election commision.as wit elections earlier
there would be loots and booth capturing,but with election commision
as a constitutonal body the condition has improved drastically and it
has restored the faith of the people,which is need of the hour for
the cbi

from:  abhinav thakur
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 01:15 IST

And I thought making CBI independent meant keeping its day-to-day affair free from political bosses (and their hidden agendas) by making their appointment and promotion etc similar to EC. Alas, the learned author thinks otherwise.

from:  Shashank
Posted on: May 8, 2013 at 00:52 IST

The moment Honble SC started rapping CBI, I expected THE HINDU to
publish such an article. In fact this is very mild, I thought it
would rap the Court in the name of Editorial saying the Honble Court
that "Don't boss us". This article is too late and it hide behind the
veil of some intellectual.

Whatever the matter of national importance, THE HINDU always sang the
song of the Government, especially Congress. So what is the surprise
here? NDTV and THE HINDU are now fighting for supremacy as to who
dance to the tune of their master correctly. I think NDTV is slightly
ahead than THE HINDU. Come on THE HINDU you can do better, one more
editorial this time just rap the Honble SC and the Election Commission
for being the last faithful resort of common man and you will go
ahead.

What an downfall for this Great Newspaper? Where it was 10 years
before and where it is now?

from:  Srinivasan Iyer
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 23:58 IST

Accountability is the key to make bureaucratic institutions functionaries work effectively. But
when they made accountable to apolitical individual then everything depends on the whims
of him which is not healthy, when they made accountable to the ruling political party it would
tend to be biased for it, and they cannot be made accountable to the court. Hence they
should be accountable to the democratic institution, parliament and through it to the people
of the country for whom it was made in the first place.

from:  Santhosh k
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 23:39 IST

Mr. Khare, You seem to be caught up in a what seems like to be your
favorite word- Hypocrisy. You on one hand give examples of how
political leaders have in the past misused or tried to misuse the CBI.
And on the other, you say that in an ideal world this should not
happen and that's why we need the CBI to be tied up to the political
executive. But we're hardly living in an ideal world. The
"unattractive middle-class" thinks this is a better alternative
precisely because history has shown that CBI is a dangerous tool in
the hands of these so called elected leaders. Take PV Narasimha Rao or
take the Late YS Rajashekar Reddy. everyone used CBI as their personal
goon to bully both the opposition and the common man much like I am
sure the previous parties used it against them. The only way out of
this viscous circle is to liberate the CBI. I have never seen an
article so removed from the public sentiment, yet claiming to champion
our interets. Please go back to your reading room Mr. Khare.

from:  Joshi
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 22:07 IST

Just can't understand what purpose this article is serving. Arguments
against independent CBI are incoherent. Author is too absorbed is
showcasing his GK about past events rather than present a reasonable
argument about non-independent CBI.

from:  anuj
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 13:15 IST

Let me summarize what I understood:
1) CBI was used by Late Mr. P.V.Narasimha Rao, L.k.Advani and Mr Vajpayee, and now the corporate conglomerate, so please let that continue and don't ask questions.
2)CBI should be within the ruling party's control.
3)Voted representatives are Gods. No one should police them.
4)Let us be practical and accept corruption as a way of life.If you ask questions you are a hypocrite.
"All these come from former media adviser to the current Prime Minister."- Do I have to say more?

from:  Vishwa
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 13:09 IST

Mr.Khare has nicely couched his arguements in favour of his former political master.
1. Replace the word CBI with Election commission and rewind yourself to early 90s. Now we know what an independent EC can do.
2. If his former political boss has the habit of opening his mouth and answering to the questions then why should opposition lose faith in the democratic process as suggested by the author
3. Au contraire, let us have an independent CBI and face the music. We are tired of the existing "statecrafts" and willing to take risks

from:  Rangarajan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 12:53 IST

A very timely remider that judiciary cannot decide how the people are governed and what policies are chosen bythe government to rule the nation and guide its destiny. It seems that even after 65 years of democratic system we as a nation have not learned what democracy is. Our judiciary is trying to copy Pakistan's judiciary in accumulating political power of deciding policy matter. It is unfortunate that our main opposition party is interested in blocking discussions in Parliament. But strange is the system which does not use marshalls to remove few MPs from Parliament house in order to allow majority MPs to discuss matters present before Parliament.

from:  masa
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 12:23 IST

Even the corruption is rampant in judiciary ,even it being independent from executive ,so how it can say that by making CBI unaccountable, it will become corruption free.
It will just make a sturctured institution to rouge one.There is still ways that the current structure can be enhanced,but you remove the base,it is sure to fall.

from:  hemant
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 12:00 IST

After reading MR. Khare's article, feels like he is representing the mindset of Government bodies afraid of facing CBI.
He states that a balance can be maintained by democratic process of accountability!!!
If CBI is not being given the power of conducting independent probe, then what is democracy??

from:  Nachiket
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:58 IST

The CBI like the Police in the states is a department of the Central Government and is bound to obey the diktats of the government. However, when the CBI is acting uder the instructions of the Court, it is bound to carry out the instructions of the Court without any government intervention. The CBI has failed to carry out the instructions of the Supreme Court not to show the status report to the Government. The CBI's independence and impeccability in investigation is beyond question in cases where no politician is involved. The inference is that all cases involving politicians and Ministers should be monitored by the Supreme Court. Is this possible?
And what about cases where Ministers, MPs are interested? In such cases CBI becomes pliable! Making the Police a constitutional authority cannot be a solution in a democracy. There should be basic honesty in Government. Can honesty be imposed by the Courts always? Therefore, I agree with Mr.Khare that “….it is much more difficult a task to produce the requisite institutional culture, anchored in balance, fairness and rectitude. That balance can be produced and enforced only by democratic processes of accountability. This balance can neither be produced nor imposed by a court”. The CBI should be accountable only to Parliament.

from:  R.M.Murthy
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:47 IST

It is a very pessimistic approach by the writer towards one of the imperative changes to be brought about in our country today. The writer has contemplated upon the shortcomings,reality and political quid pro quo prevalent in the political society regarding liberating CBI from political influence. Present India knows this as a gospel, what they want is a way out for these instituions from the shadow of executives.

from:  Sahil Bhatia
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:44 IST

Awesome introspection sir.
Still there is feeling when the acountability will rose to the incumbent,individual acts will be taken from his own belief of accountability ,whether right or wrong ,not from what law has stated.
This can be again start of discrimination against the person of lower caste,as it will only prelude what incumbent has in decision to make.
And this is high time for balance between judicial intervention in lawmaking process

from:  abhinav
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:44 IST

I really don't understand whenever a political party do something wrong than why some people justify their doing by quoting instances of same thing done by other political parties as well in past. Its time to stop all this rather than favoring them by saying all are same.

from:  payal
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:35 IST

Mr.Khare’s article is in refreshing contrast to what we are now used
to hear day in and day out that UPA-2 is a bunch of thieves. The whole
of what has come to be called as civil society; almost the entire
media and part of judiciary seem to have come to this conclusion.
Justice Lodha’s intemperate outbursts recently in the Supreme Court
are an example of this. All of them want CBI to be a totally
independent agency without having to be accountable even to the
parliament. As rightly pointed out by Mr.Khare nobody bothered about
the effect of having a super investigating agency on the democracy. As
soon as there was a hint of CBI status report having been discussed
with law minister and officials in the PMO all hell break loose and
the principal opposition party jumped to shut down parliament the only
skill in which their leaders excel. After all the prime minister and
the law minister are lawfully appointed members of the cabinet and not
crooks always out to cheat the government. Now that the nature of
changes made doesn’t seem to be very serious voices have subdued but
the damage is done.

Now that Congress party is sure to win Karnataka elections all pundits
will give their expert opinion saying the win is more due to people’s
disgust than their love for congress. But according to the same
pundits if other party wins it is display of maturity by voters. If
this is not hypocrisy what else is? I have come across many people
remembering the rule of CMs like Veerendra Patil, SM Krishna and
Veerappa Moily with nostalgia.

from:  Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:26 IST

The writer, while building the defence for 'the establishment', ignores the fact that there are many constitutional institutions like EC, CAG, courts etc, which are, occassionally, working without interference from the government of the day. The PM of India has many sources (IB, RAW etc) to gather required intelligence, within and outside India, on most subject matters, therefore, creating an independent investigating agency against corruption with not reduce his control on various vital sources of intelligence and help the PM in keeping the country's economy on track and healthy by reducing corruption.

from:  Ranjan Srivastava
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 11:05 IST

The executive, legislature and judiciary are the three sacred
institutions under our Indian Constitution. The executive stands for
governance, the legislature for enactment of law and the judiciary for
justice. If the king (executive) rules his Prajas in righteousness and
justice, then there will not be any role for the law maker and the
judge. As such, the executive is seated on the driver's seat of
governance. Any fatal attack on the driver driving the car will be
suicidal for all the inmates of the car including legislatures and
judges. If the driver does not perform his job perfectly, then advice
and warning ought to be given by the other inmates of the car. You
cannot pull him from the driver's seat.
We cannot afford creating a monster with independent and absolute powers. We cannot expect the judiciary to monitor each and every case under police investigation as it has other important issues to deal with. We cannot dilute the powers of the executive who is in the driver's seat.

from:  Job Anbalagan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 10:54 IST

The author of article is obbessed with the ideology of congress to use all power at their command to takle the political opponents. I am surprise to the reasoning forwarded by the author to curtail the demand to make the CBI independent. He forgot that CBI is only a prosecuting and investigating agency who is supposed to be independent of the political masters. In the present senario when the congress has been trying to supress all their misdeeds and gross curruption,it has became more important to bat for independent agency.

from:  mark kabir
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 10:23 IST

what khare writes can be view of only someone who is in a way or other related to UPA. i was quick in knowing who he is ...after reading onle first paragraph....sad sad sad

from:  tiwari
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 10:22 IST

I am amazed at the audacity with which Mr Harish Khare tries to defend the indefinsible when it comes to this Congress govt.He calls what the law minister did as a "mistake" whereas it's clearly a Crime that the law minister committed.Misleading the highest court in the land cannot be termed a mistake it is a Crime and it should be called one.and we better allow the court have the final say than someone like the author who clearly has a "conflict of interest" here,his having been associated with this Govt. and Congress.

from:  Mahesh Tumpalla
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 10:22 IST

I am not able to comprehend why HINDU gives space to such
people.

from:  virender
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:46 IST

Dear Sir,

What we should have is an independent Investigation Agency (CBI) without any political boss. The appointment of Director CBI and Joint Directors should be appointed by a group consisting the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Central Vigilance Commissioner and Chief Justice and CVs of at least 12 people with impecable integrity should be considered for each post amongst the IPS cadre.

The Agency should have financial independency and should report to none other than the Courts for individual cases. CBI should have a great field including the defence, where corruption exists for every single purchase.

All major issues, purchases, allotments which are more than 500 crores should have thoroughly watched for any malpractices by the CBI.


from:  Panneer Selvam
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:35 IST

Every authority claiming supremacy and independence even over the
cabinet decisions, prime minister ... without observing any moral &
ethical values of the respective professions has only brought
disrespect & disrepute to our country. Even before courts decide the
principle of law according to merit, hundreds of television channels
are delivering the verdict in the name of open debate to ensure top
TRP rating over others; and nobody objects, not even courts to allow
open debates on matters under sub judice.



.

from:  Bhanumurthi
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:20 IST

Makes a very interesting reading to prove a point that there is no so called independent assessment.

from:  k.b.ganesan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:19 IST

Mr Khare - I am afraid I dont understand your point on why a free CBI is a bad thing at all. The 'unelected gods' being free to do their duty brings in a critical counterbalance to the destruction that the elected gods are wreaking upon us - overall you grossly exaggerate the negatives of what a free CBI will morph into

from:  Siddharth
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:18 IST

If an idea attracts such vehement opposition from someone closely
associated with the most corrupt government Indians have had the
misfortune of seeing, surely its a good idea.

Lokpal lao, nahi to jao!

from:  Sudeep
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:18 IST

What a needless ramble, without any alternate suggestions or vision.

from:  Sameer Jain
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 09:13 IST

The statuary warning posted by The Hindu : - "Harish Khare is a senior
journalist, political analyst and former media adviser to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh.", this sums it all what Mr. Harish Khare wanted to say.

Indian democracy : of the politicians, for the politicians, by the
politicians, and the author calls it a middle class hypocrisy?

from:  Amit
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:58 IST

What else you can expect from Harish Khare...He is a former media adviser to Manmohan Singh.

He just want to let Politicians enjoy their wrong doing and with mute agreement ,No Investigations can me made transparently on politicians of any ruling or non ruling party.

from:  Ashutosh Tripathi
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:56 IST

Hrish Khare's arguments on;y make out a stronger case for the investigating agencies to be taken out of political control. It is not a question of a PM surrendering control to one of his rivals, but freeing investigations from politicians so that they can independently act as a counterbalance.

from:  arun visvanathan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:37 IST

As usual Harish Khare here is beating around the bushes and given
glimpses of CONGRESS ,BJP rivalry but in midst of this journalistic
acrobatics he has hidden a very crucial matter from purview of readers
that fair and free investigation is a crucial part of justice and
political seats of this nation have hijacked it , so it is highly
essential to free it from clutches of political powers. It has been an
old tactics to question the future when somebody ask to change the
present bad condition, as here he raises doubt on integrity of future
CBI heads (if it is made independent), but all constitutional bodies
like ELECTION COMMISSION , CAG function well without political
interference and democracy always has methods of checks and balances
to avoid misuse of power by any constitutional body. A free and fair
investigation agency is aptly needed to restore peoples faith in
JUDICIARY without which its simply paralyzed

from:  chandan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:35 IST

Make CBI autonomous, NOW! It should be able to investigate ruling party
members and ministers without political pressure

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:33 IST

Unbelievable! What does the author mean by prising CBI from Executive! Hopefully
crude disgusting power brokers who help the politicians and cover it up using CBI
are kicked out and a true democracy ushers in.

from:  vivek
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:28 IST

Manoeuvreing of CBI who started and who followed is not that serious
so far the present cases are concerned.Both Mr.PV Narsimha Rao and Mr.LK
Advani had used CBI for certain political gains whereas the present
Ministers are using for loot.

from:  Montosh Dutta
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:16 IST

when conscience of a system becomes insensitive to the very fundamentals
of its origin, such problems will arise again and again and this is not
a congress bjp issue though Congress seems hell bent to outdo bjp in
this competition of nuisance.

from:  MANCHAL
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 08:02 IST

Justice is not fair because law is not fair.The laws are not fair because politicians are not fair.Politicians are not fair because they are surrounded by dishonests.Finally,dishonest people rule and have ruled through Kings and monarchs in the past and the Governors in modern times.May be any form of Government,the results are the same everywhere.
Poor peopple have always suffered due to misdeeds of dishonests.
May be CBI or any Government Agency,they will be governed by the politician's favoured trickish laws to favour the manipulated politics and policies.Unfortunately, as witnessed in the past,judiciary becomes helpless in such scenario to make any solutions to ereadicate corruption and their directives are never translated into action rather laws are changed later on to avoid the directives and regularise the misdeeds.
And of course,Prime Minister has no magic to minimise corruption what to talk of eradication of corruption.

from:  JauhariM
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:56 IST

Author has rightly pointing out dangers of creating an autonomous CBI,
with all powers to intimidate but perhaps zero accountability.
However, we have to deal with the menace of misuse of CBI (or State
intelligence agency of the police) by the party in power for political
purposes, winning over or harassing political opponents. Obviously
there are mo easy solutions to end the menace. Only if all parties are
serious and wish to end the misuse of CBI, it may be possible to find
one.
I believe that a possible solution lies in much more involvement of
citizens in public affairs and more importantly, implementation of
police, judicial, electoral and fiscal reforms on a top priority
basis, to bring in more transparency in all government dealings. Anna
Hazare’s movement for appointment of Lok Pal offered some hope in
regard to implementation of reforms, but it has fizzled out. . It is
of course true that no party will implement reforms unless we citizens
compel all parties to do so.

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:45 IST


i fully agree with the thrust of the article. unfortunately, fractured
electoral verdicts have weakened the majority parties. state parties and
other corrupt politicians are now dictating the political discourse.
parliament and press are wielding less influence. courts seem to be the
only solution. they can only lay down the law. hence the piquant
situation.

from:  raj
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:43 IST

A reading of this essay makes it clear that Mr. Khare can write but he can not add. His
conclusions are contradicted by his earlier assertions.

from:  Hoshiar Singh
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:41 IST

Thanks to "false prophets" thta have promised to liberate the Indian society form corruption, rape,violence and all other evils, the so-called "activists are hunting with the hounds and running with hares. The CBI is said to be so bad but it should not be given even limited autonomy subject to Parliamentary oversight.The State and the police are supposed to be under duty to protect every woman at home or on the streets even at midnight but the woman should have the "autonomy" to go to pubs scantily dressed and "chill out" till V hours.If anybody says "stop, look and proceed" he is a male chauvinist or obscurantist.The timed has come for India to pause and ponder over all the issues dispassionately and coolly and not seek to decide by hitting the streets.

from:  Dr V Nageswara Rao
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:40 IST


While I admit that this is a brilliant essay, I get an uneasy feeling that the Author is okay with the current political rogues excercising enormous power including controlling the CBI. It becomes very academic and pedantic exhibition of scholarship in this day and age of currption and chaos in the governance of the country to say that the political control over CBI is essential - stripped of all scholarly blatherings, a simple question to be asked is why should the current gang of rogue politicians be given more power and why is it so difficult to see that the public sees the logic and the simplicity of some of the power - any power not being controlled by the politicians?.

from:  bala
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:33 IST

1.The author still seem to be working on behalf of Congress/PM.
2. Judiciary is neither trying to bring CBI under itself nor would create totally independent, hence no imbalance.
3. UPA Govt. is in minority but remain arrogant & in power with support from BSP & SP obtained by sheer misuse of CBI.
4. When government fail in its duty and itself an accused and not let opposition to question other institution (judiciary) must come to rescue.

from:  Atma Gandhi
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:31 IST

What else will one would expect from the former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh than what he has presented in the article above? Mr.Khare has done much harm to his stature in the media world by this exercise.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:30 IST

It is unfortunate that Mr. Khare, try as he might, is unable to find any fault with the current
government. Even when he finds the Law Minister " lacking that fine balance of
temperament and competence that is so essential" he is unable to bring himself to suggest
that the Law Minister be let go. Whatever the merits of keeping CBI under the control of the
political executive, Mr. Khare manages to confuse the principles of investigative and
prosecutorial independence with politics. He seems to suggest they are nothing more than
day to day politics. That certainly will be news to the framers of the constitution and to most
fair minded Indians. Mr. Khare must recognize that both the political class, particularly the
two main parties, and the CBI have failed to gain the trust of the people. The Supreme Court
is trying to find ways to improve on this reality. Agreed it has not been very successful but
that is largely because the other branches of the government continue to fail them.

from:  V. Gupta
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:08 IST

In the recent hearing case of irregularities in coal block allocation
in front of SC. SC found that their is lacking the autonomy of the CBI
in the investigation rightly so by seeing the interference of
PMO,ASG,SG. I am totally not agree by writer as he quoted as
"Distracted by the political noise in the matter so called coal
allocation scam to try and manufacture an artificial and unsustainable
"autonomy" for the CBI" sir it's not a political noise which SC is
indicating in it's statement it's clear cut message to the government
to not interfere in the CBI proceeding. It is true that SC can make
suggestions can't frame a new law but their need's a proper will by
all three pillar's of our democracy as legislative,executive,and
judiciary to reach an agreement on this front.

from:  krishan kumar
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 07:03 IST

Author is right and very balanced but in the ongoing case is a court
monitored investigation and minister has no role to play. CBI could have
acted independently if it has its heart at right place.

from:  Srinivasa Rao
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 06:20 IST

An useless article biased towards congress....

from:  Chinmay
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 06:01 IST

The opinion of Harish Khare is a repeat of his convictions/usual stand.
He forgets that everyone should be accountable in a democracy. As the
Tamil adage goes "As is the ruler so are the people". We find
corruption a universal phenomenon in India because it is patronized
from above. The present congress culture, to which Harish seems to
subscribe, relies on diluting rather than strengthening, every
institutional framework to achieve some political end or other.
Any social scientist would find his views rooted in theological or
metaphysical stage of social evolution. Is not seeking justice a
fundamental right in a democratic system? Judicial activism too is born
in a context and now the only option at the hands of people and parties
enabling institutionalized expression of disagreements as a continuous
process. The other option is revolution when propagation of even
alternative ideas is suppressed by some means. This is the hard lesson
learnt from social history of the world.

from:  kaliappan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 05:13 IST

This is brilliant! Mr. Kahare has raised many isues and the most poignant being, who will control the CBI, if it becomes too independent for its boots! The righteousness of the BJP, seen everyday in its clamour to win in the People's court expalins why NDTV and CNN IBN is where BJP MPs spend more time than in Parliament. They have so few seats that they cannot control the agenda of the opposition and therefore fight their battles outside. It is hard to know if Mr. Kumar merely acted clumsily or actually subverted justice, but the daily clamour by the BJP for the Government to resign enmasse,borders on the 'theatre of the absurd'. After a real drubbing in Karnataka, India will hopefully elect a majority Government and marginalize this new breed of BJP

from:  sridhar
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 05:11 IST

Central Bureau of Investigation is just that - an investigative agency. It is not the one pronouncing the final judgement. If CBI has done so wonderful in the last sixty years and has not been manipulated we would not be talking about an independent CBI today. As Mr Khare puts it, successive governments ( Both Congress and BJP ) have successfully used CBI to settle political scores. I fail to understand why an independent investigative agency scares Mr Khare. No one is suggesting that Judiciary should oversee the CBI. Judiciary is intervening to wake CBI up and remind its charter - That is investigate impartially without any political or other influence.

from:  Krishna Dammanna
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 04:18 IST

A democracy can only thrive in an atmosphere of trust. India has
remained a democracy, despite all the venal corruption of its
politicians, largely because people still trust the Supreme Court and
its judges. Why cannot we trust a CBI that is freed from its present
shackles? Let it come under the aegis of the Supreme Court. What is the
harm in that? An independent CBI will strike the fear of God in the
corrupt and the feckless. India will be far better off that way. Lets
stop the sophistry and remake the CBI to serve the nation.

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 04:12 IST

I am sad to see such a disgusting article full of hatred words like" that old fox" etc
from such a seems to be or pretending to be knowledgeable person. Even I am more
worried how Hindu can allow publishing such a disgusting article my champ of
certain political party?

from:  Rajender
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 02:48 IST

I am astounded by the high fallutin nonsense coming from Mr Harish Khare, of all
persons. To prevent judicial overreach, the Prime Minister is responsible for ensuring
that the CBI functions with sufficient degree of freedom to investigate impartially
when allegations are levelled against the functioning of the government. I am afraid
the Prime Minister has betrayed the people's trust by defending the law minister's
interference in advising the CBI to amend its reports. Mr Khare talks of a fine balance
between the judiciary and the executive but in both the 2G scam and the coal
licenses allocation, it is the executive that has been blatantly disregarding public
opinion and brazenly defending its own malpractices. Mr Khare, I am afraid is
damaging his own reputation as a sagacious commentator of public affairs by
blaming the opposition for the sins committed by the ruling party. His defence
erodes the legitimacy of our democratic institutions, instead of enhancing it.

from:  M N Pnini
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 02:24 IST

"In the recent Lok Pal debate, the government and the Opposition were
silently united in rejecting the demand that the CBI be brought under
the proposed ombudsman. It was a rare display of political common sense
so essential to sustained statecraft." The author is not advocating
statecraft, but witchcraft, which is currently being practised by Indian
politicians, who are sucking the blood out of the poor people of their
country.

India has been a plaything of the politicians, and the hapless citizens
putty in their hands, for 65 long miserable years.

The SC must grant people their democracy; the people are not asking for
much after 65 years of being treated like slaves. Both independent CBI
and Jan Lokpal are essential to India’s prosperity. The country cannot
remain a monarchy with regional feudal Warlords. INDIA MUST BECOME A
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, AND MUST JOIN THE ADVANCED 21st CENTURY.

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 01:43 IST

The Prime Minister's finger is on the nuclear button. So must it be on every single lever of
governance. The solution is not to snatch away instruments of state power that can be
misused and place them in the hands of unaccountable little tyrants. Instead, the long, hard
trek is to raise the quality of governance and integrity to where it should be. It would be a
comforting thought to believe that we are at least headed in the right direction.

from:  ashok
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 01:26 IST

A nice article but the author forgets to elaborate how to liberate CBI from the clutches of the Congress Party. If the judiciary will not help CBI become unbiased towards all political party then who else will make this?

from:  Satya Ranjan Gahan
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 01:23 IST

hmm.. so as long as BJP has its own contradictions and since CBI has been misused by previous PM's - so that justifies the present scenario for this PM, is it? What sort of Yardstick does Mr.Khare and such "chamchaas" of this abysmal govt want to apply?
Wrong is wrong - period. Doesn't make it right if someone else was worse.
Time for The Hindu to not give any more precious real estate to such sycophants.

from:  Gautham
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 01:09 IST

as usual ,mr khare's articles are no better than the words of digvijay
singh

from:  Ajay
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 01:09 IST

Harish is sadly just going round and round. He says that all political
parties want the CBI under their control and would not let rivals take
control. He also mentions that there is no guarantee that an
independent CBI would not be corrupt or free. Unfortunately he does
not provide us the solution for the problem. All of these are known
problems. The only thing people are believing is that independent CBI
could be a tad better than then current disposition. We have had good
models of EC and CAG in operations which can be implemented similarly
in the case of CBI. Nobody is saying that all the ills will be cured
but it could be a better mechanism.

from:  Suresh P
Posted on: May 7, 2013 at 01:00 IST
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