Jail for Rahul

Curiously, a Surat court has thought it fit to jail top Congress figure Rahul Gandhi over a statement he made at the height of the 2019 general election campaign in Kolar, Karnataka. The magistrate court has however avoided creating a sensation by quickly granting the senior leader bail and a month’s time to go on appeal. The different layers of the justice-dispensation mechanism strengthen the judicial system and help it retain its sanctity. A re-examination of a judgment by a more mature higher court could set right a wrong, if any, committed by a lower court. Had this system not been in place the result would have been utter chaos. Rahul Gandhi can expect a fair deal.
The main charge in this case was the “insult” that a community with a common surname faced as a whole from the poser from Rahul Gandhi – “How come all the thieves have the common surname Modi?” The comment obviously targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to also draw in fugitives fighting extradition cases in foreign soil like Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi. The political punch could not be lost sight of and chances are that even the ‘Modis’ laughed it off; but not the Surat BJP legislator and former minister Purnesh Modi, who went and filed the case. What however raised eyebrows was that the court that handled the case saw repeated change of magistrates. This led to concern in Congress circles that the BJP in power was bent on playing games with Rahul Gandhi. A ‘teasing game’ has been going on against the Congress leader for a long time. This is no laughing matter, though.
The beauty of democracy is the freedom it grants to people to hold forth; criticise those in authority, alongside the right it grants to citizens to choose as to who should represent and rule them and the nation. The system, despite its flaws, is cited as the best governance system by far. Its strength and dignity are principally what those in power accord to it by fair play. This is true of the judiciary too. What goes without saying is that leaders on the opposition side too must conduct themselves in a responsible manner. This apart, it should also be stressed in this context that the justice dispensation system must change with the times. Even petty law violations are treated as serious criminal charges and jail sentences awarded, where perhaps a fine should serve the purpose. This too might be viewed by many as one such case. If teasing is the name of the game, time alone would say who made a laughing stock of whom.

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