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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Wise and Gutsy after hanging the boots!
Katju, a person of great eminence was on the backfoot in the Times Now debate yesterday. Despite performing a commendable job in highlighting the impropriety committed in granting extension to a tainted high court judge of the Chennai court, the other two panelists were successful in pulling him down over the issue of his remaining mum, both while he was in active assignment and also for the over two years that elapsed since he hung up his boots.
His defense that he could not have gone beyond a point in expressing his resentment over the grave impropriety being committed right under his nose by the supreme authorities of the land obviously does not cut much ice. That his hands were tied by the compulsions of being an active judge and therefore not able to resist the mischievous actions of those in power is an argument that we often hear, especially from the bureaucrats who on similar lines grow wise and gutsy after retirement.
Is this, the conventional approach of being silent partners in crime the right course of action I wonder? Is permitting without a whimper, gross cases of misconduct under the garb of remaining within the ambit of the conduct rules applicable to government servants, the ethical way of doing things?
The answer is NO, yet almost all of us with exceptions of the likes of Khemka, Khairnar or Kiran, all with first names starting with the letter K, find it the most convenient and justifiable action that despite the voice of conscience saying otherwise, we absolve ourselves with throughout our lives. Incidentally Katju also belongs to the same variety and that makes me reverent of the alphabet K.
Silent partners in crime with allegiance to powerful individuals and not to the government or the nation, is what almost all of us in the service of the government have emerged as. Rampant corruption and injustice therefore flourishes right under our noses and we tend to look elsewhere till at times we take a direct hit.
Is it not our duty to be truthful, honest and compassionate and at the same time put our foot down when someone else howsoever powerful he may be fleeces the nation by his misdemeanors. While our conscience that is an integral part of the almighty winces at all such acts, our intellect tempered by the everyday happenings of the society guides us otherwise in the garb of being practical for fear of retribution that may or may not come in the shape of a transfer or a spoiled confidential report. Is it not therefore a case of paying a very high price for avoiding a minor inconvenience?
This lack spine at crucial moments in our service career provides the wherewithal to powerful individuals to carry on with their acts of gross misconduct while at the same time remaining on the right side of the conduct rules framed for the servants of the government. This is the greatest irony of the so called service of the nation.
Any system or structure that regards an expose’ as a much bigger crime than the criminal deed itself would never be able to propel the nation to the league of developed countries. Any organization where the frank and free expression of its constituents is regarded as dissent worthy of grave retribution is bound to wither away with time. The functioning of organizations and states has to have its foundations on pillars of justice, justice that meets the voice of conscience not merely some rules and procedures written in books. Unless this realization dawns on the mandarins of the republic, we would forever remain occupied in a futile search for growth and development.