People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 29

July 17, 2011





Unholy Nexus between Law Makers,

Law Keepers and the Law Breakers’


Dipankar Mukherjee


DURING his interaction with selected newspaper editors on June 29, the prime minister made the following remarks about judicial intervention on corruption, as quoted by Press Information Bureau (PIB) press release:


Q-12:– The judiciary has also made some strong statements?

A – The Supreme Court justification is that these questions and answers are necessary to get answers from the Bar about things that are bothering them. But they say the way the press uses them is the real problem. I have talked to the judges and they said the question answers are in order to clarify the way but they said that it is the press who should recognise this that they are not orders.

Interjection – But some of the judges statements are virtual opinions?

A – But, I think everybody should exercise restraint. When I talk to the Judges they tell me this is not our intention to say that these are our orders or instructions. We ask these questions in order to clarify the issues. But the press, in the way it uses them that causes sensationalism.




After four days, i.e. on July 4, the Supreme Court in its order on black money observed in para 9 and 10


“Consequently, the issue of unaccounted monies held by nationals, and other legal entities, in foreign banks, is of primordial importance to the welfare of the citizens. The quantum of such monies may be rough indicators of the weakness of the State, in terms of both crime prevention, and also of tax collection. Depending on the volume of such monies, and the number of incidents through which such monies are generated and secreted away, it may very well reveal the degree of “softness of the State.”


The concept of a “soft State” was famously articulated by the Nobel Laureate, Gunnar Myrdal. It is a broad based assessment of the degree to which the State, and its machinery, is equipped to deal with its responsibilities of governance. The more soft the State is, greater the likelihood that there is an unholy nexus between the law maker, the law keeper, and the law breaker.”


The above is neither a question nor a sensational interpretation by the press, but a part of Supreme Court order, which further observes in para 17


“If the State is soft to a large extent, especially in terms of the unholy nexus between the law makers, the law keepers, and the law breakers, the moral authority, and also the moral incentives, to exercise suitable control over the economy and the society would vanish. Large unaccounted monies are generally an indication of that.”


As per our Constitution, parliament is the law maker and the government of the day is the law keeper. But who are the law breakers? The focus of debate on the issue corruption by civil or non-civil society and media has been on the role of only the law makers and law keepers i.e. the political class and to some extent the bureaucrats. But there appears to be a consensus among the political parties --  barring the Left -- the civil and ‘uncivil’ society, the media, the middle class intelligentsia on ignoring the role of “the law breakers” in high level corruption and loot of public resources. The law breakers viz. the corporates, both Indian and foreign, the tax defaulters, tax evaders, the wilful bank loan defaulters, the users of Mauritius route for funding, the manipulators of import and export duties through overvoicing and undervoicing and finally the labour law violators who deprive the poorest of poor workers of their minimum wages and other social security benefits to maximise their profits without tax, are not on radar of the non-Left anti-corruption crusaders. The neo-liberal policy, which breeds such law breakers, is not even peripherally touched by them. Honourable Supreme Court has very correctly diagnosed this serious policy aberration which has led to the “corporatisation of politics” at its worst in this country.




However, the prime minister need not lose his sleep over the “sensationalisation” by the media on the Supreme Court’s observations in its order of July 4. On the contrary, the corporate media -- the “Walk the Talkers” and others --  is already in the fray in its familiar role to protect and defend the “holier than the holy” corporate raj ushered in the country two decades back through the neo-liberal economic regime pioneered by the present prime minister. The prime minister, the architect of liberalisation and free market policy, can safely depend on these corporate pen-pushers or TV anchors, who have already started the campaign of “judicial overactivism”, “judicial excess” etc. After all, how can the market fundamentalists of all hue and colour, digest the following observation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in para 12 of the same order.


“Increasingly, on account of “greed is good” culture that has been promoted by neo-liberal ideologues, many countries face the situation where the model of capitalism that the State is compelled to institute, and the markets it spawns, is predatory in nature. From mining mafias to political operators who, all too willingly, bend policies of the State to suit particular individuals or groups in the social and economic sphere, the raison d’etre for weakening the capacities and intent to enforce the laws is the lure of the lucre. Even as the State provides violent support to those who benefit from such predatory capitalism, often violating the human rights of its citizens, particularly its poor, the market begins to function like a bureaucratic machine dominated by big business; and the State begins to function like the market, where everything is available for sale at a price.”


The honourable Supreme Court obviously expects the law makers and the law keepers to bring about necessary changes in policy paradigm to rid the country from clutches of market, dominated by big business and fly-by-night operators in line with the social goals and values enshrined in the Constitution. But the present corporate-captive government obviously cannot be expected to do so, wedded as it is to the predatory capitalism. This is clear from the way the prime minister tried to denigrate a constitutional body like CAG in his meeting with the news editors. The architect of neo-liberal economic regime, who perceived himself as ‘bonded labour’ to Left opposition to neo-liberal anti-people policies of UPA I regime, may now treat the observations of the court as “judicial bondage”. The cheerleaders -- the corporates and the rich who are the real beneficiaries of the neo-liberal regime -- are ready to back him. They will not hesitate to force the government to confront the judiciary, if they feel the heat.