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Follow Convention


The post of CBI Director is not a constitutional one that should require all the effort put in by the present government to fill or vacate. By and large, all those in government service, be it the highest posts, should have the ability and integrity to be in line with policy positions of the elected leadership. If there are irreconcilable differences, it is expected of the official concerned to either accept being sidelined or resign on grounds of principle. That is the best that can be done. Even if it is felt necessary to challenge the matter in court, it should be done from the post one has been transferred to. This should not be a matter of laid down protocol but a convention followed by members of the administrative elite such as the Defence and Civil Services. If there are issues that are of urgent national importance, the facts should be brought before the people. And, of course, there is always the option of joining politics and from being the governed, become one of those doing the governing.
In the case of former CBI Director Alok Verma, few of these noble principles apply. He was facing charges of corruption and, for anyone in an administrative position, the usual response of the government is either transfer to a post from where investigations cannot be influenced, or suspension. The claims made by political parties that Verma’s remaining in his post was of huge national importance were bogus. The people are expected to believe that any decision taken by Prime Minister Modi has some deep dark design to undo Indian Democracy. The Supreme Court went by the book and, eventually, the outcome was the same, validating the judgement of the Government. There was considerable substance in the charges against Verma and, politicise it as they will, any self-respecting political leadership would have taken action.
It is unfortunate that Congress leader Khadge, who was a member of the three-person committee that looked into the charges against Verma, allowed his political commitment to blind him to the reality. The nation pays a price for such partiality among those who are expected to act righteously. In fact, this is the major flaw being seen in the Congress Party by most people – it seems to put things other than the Nation first in its priorities. Such politics does more harm to the Constitution than all the supposed authoritarianism of the present Prime Minister.