Hafta 179: Supreme Court on Kejriwal-LG standoff, NRC in Assam, WhatsApp and more
This week on NL Hafta, with special guest Amitoj Singh, we discuss the Supreme Court’s judgment on the power tussle between the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and Arvind Kejriwal, as well as its interpretations. We also discuss reports of the President being mistreated at Jagannath Temple, WhatsApp rumour-triggered mob lynchings, and finally, the National Register of Citizens, which is creating quite a ruckus in Assam. Meghnad breaks down the SC judgment: “What this judgment has solved is, essentially, that they have to communicate their decisions to the LG, but don’t have to wait for his approval. If the LG feels that they have taken a decision that is unconstitutional, that is when he has to step in, so he can’t just sit on files.” Amitoj offers his thoughts on the judgment. “The language of this 535-page order is so complicated, it is making lives suffer…from all the interpretations of all my colleagues…there is not a single word of reprimand for the 3.5 years of the loss of [governance and] for the people of Delhi, that was stalled by the LG. This one keyword, is the real issue out here—‘interpretation’.” The panel then points out some humorous sections from the judgment. The panel also talks about why it took four days for the President’s office to clarify that the President wasn’t, in fact, mistreated at the Puri temple, even when it dominated national headlines. Madhu joins the panel to weigh in on the Kejriwal issue. “He really doesn’t know that to get work done you actually have to get along with people.” Amitoj says, “Whenever you are kind and whenever you are diplomatic, things slow down, and that’s not his style.” Madhu insists that she is “not asking him to be diplomatic, but strategic”. Meghnad agrees, adding, “Sure, there might be some level of vindictiveness from the Central government as well, but at the end of the day, you have to figure out how to get work done, that’s what governance is all about.” Abhinandan takes a firmer stance on AAP, stating, “Unless they can shake the system to the core, they should disband. I don’t want a male Sheila Dixit.” Madhu feels that unless “you shake up the system to make the bureaucrats more responsive it is not beneficial to anybody". Amitoj makes a case for Kejriwal, “He is not doing things which he wants to do perhaps which other states can.” Abhinandan feels that the Washington model is “too radical for the way the system is right now”. The panel subsequently speaks about WhatsApp rumour-triggered mob lynchings that are taking place across the country. Meghnad provides context on one such viral forward. “One video being circulated was done by a charity fighting to save abducted children in Pakistan. Their end message—which is ‘Save Children in Karachi from Getting Kidnapped’ has been cut off—and only one portion, a mock-thing about 2 adults lifting children, is getting circulated everywhere, along with photos of random people and number plates.” Madhu offers her thoughts. “To me, WhatsApp by itself has become a lynch mob. People are mindlessly forwarding things…in the 40s and 50s, moral character was held up as something to aspire to….ab toh puri sharam utar gayi hai." She feels that the crux of the problem lies in the fact that “it’s so acceptable to do these things”. The solution she proposes? “Rather than asking WhatsApp to control it…I think the government would be fully authorised and supported to do propaganda on Doordarshan. Instead of putting out stories on the achievements of the government….this is their opportunity to even create a serial based on the damage WhatsApp can do.” For more, listen in!