By Sudhanshu Tripathi
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India sternly reprimanded the Maharashtra government on 11-11-2020 for illegally confining Mr Arnab Goswami into jail and also criticised the Bombay high court in not granting due bail to him. In fact, he has been suffering the vicious course of vendetta politics for the past many months just for sake of launching a vigorous crusade against unimaginable corruption in public places with a view to strengthen democracy and rule of law in the country. In this scenario, one can easily remember the wisdom of George Orwell as reflected in his memorable words: ‘Ours is an age of democracy.’
As obvious, each government has to respect the voice of the people in the present era of popular democracy, which is inherent in their collective opinion manifesting the conscientious will of the people at large. That is the essential requirement of a democracy anywhere in the world as democracy is the ‘government of the people, for the people and by the people’, according to an ancient Greek philosopher Cleon. And that was reiterated by the US President Abraham Lincoln more than one and a half century ago. Hence, a free, independent and fearless press is the sine-qua-non for a vibrant and meaningful democracy.
Against this backdrop, the continuing vengeance unleashed by the Maharashtra police against Republic Bharat’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami is highly condemnable. In fact, his inhuman arrest is absolutely illegal because the case wherein he has been implicated was closed nearly two years ago. Apparently the case was deliberately opened just to strike at Mr. Goswami, even without seeking arrest warrants from the competent court. The way he was forcibly arrested like a hardened criminal at the behest of the state government speaks much about gross abuse of the state machinery, obviously with a view to silence him and to crush the freedom of press. Indeed, this kind of hounding of a journalist is very disgusting and that reminds one of the emergency days in India during 1975-76.
In fact, Goswami has been instrumental in bringing-out many new facts in connection with some of the most controversial cases, like Palghar lynching of Sadhus, Sushant Singh Rajput’s death-mystery including an actress Disha Saliyan, besides Hathras, Shaheen Bagh protests and few more, thereby exposing unethical nexus among politicians, mafia, police and probably underworld, having international presence. This nexus would obviously have been worried over Mr. Arnab’s investigative journalism, which might have brought-open their role in cooked-up misdeeds.
In fact, India is a democracy as guaranteed by the country’s Constitution, which is the basic law of the land and is the supreme source of all powers. As, the Preamble of the Indian Constitution explicitly says that it is WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA which HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY on 26th November 1949. It is, in fact, the democracy wherein the people at large have the final say in all matters of governance. Hence, WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA have the every right to know each and every thing pertaining to the affairs of the state, including politics, Bollywood, drug-cartels, criminal-syndicates, police, underworld and their foreign funding to destabilize the country.
To strengthen democracy in the country, the Right to Information Act, 2005 has been framed by the Indian Parliament to justify the rationale in support of the popular awareness about the governance with a view to ensure constitutionalism, meaning thereby that each organ of the government runs strictly according to the provisions of the Constitution and that never exceeds its limits as set out therein. All these are meant for making the country’s democracy truly meaningful and also consolidating Rule of Law, which stands for equality before law, equal protection of law and easy and inexpensive availability of law for immediate redressal of grievances of all. Thus constitutionalism and the Right to Information do help-contribute the spirit of the democracy in true sense of the term.
As evident, the Role of Press assumes crucial significance in this context which, indeed, lets the common man know as to what exactly is happening in the country or world. It is by the enlightened awareness about governance, that the masses can take right decisions in their interest as well as that of the society and the country. As the Latin phrase goes, Vox populi, Vox Dei ie voice of people is the voice of God; therefore it is the collective will of all people which is supreme in a country. Hence it can neither be ignored nor trampled in anyway by anyone, howsoever high or mighty one may be. That Arnab Goswami was doing exactly the same is the fact that nobody can question. Although he might have occasionally become noisy in his programme or his raising of relevant questions directly to the government and other political leaders and higher-ups in civil and police administration might have been embarrassing to all of them, but that was his duty as a journalist and certainly not a crime.
Nonetheless one must not forget that ultimately Truth prevails, despite all obstructions, repressions or suppressions, ie satyamev jayate nanritam. And that has been vindicated again today by the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 11-11-2020, granting Mr. Arnab Goswami bail for his immediate release from the Taloja jail. Obviously it underscores that the Hon’ble Supreme Court stands as a supreme custodian for the Rule of Law and the protection of Human Rights of all citizens in the country, thereby upholding once again the sanctity of the Indian Constitution and the spirit of democracy.
Prof. Sudhanshu Tripathi, U.P. Rajarshi Tandon Open University, Prayagaraj (UP)