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People First


The use of laws to create obstacles for government in development matters, create political problems, and benefit personally, has become the bane of present day society. Recently, a court in Himachal Pradesh has even asked a litigious organisation to provide its particulars to prove its impartiality of motive.
It must not be forgotten that the legislative bodies make the laws, while the courts interpret them. As such, when courts are compelled to pass judgements based on what might be described as inconvenient or obsolete laws, the government should take steps to reform or retract such legislation, rather than try and squeeze the reality into make-believe pronouncements. In fact, fresh legislation ought to be brought to deal with such situations, because times and circumstances are changing fast. The good of the people has to be placed above everything else.
There are certain concepts in the name of which people – mostly the poor and marginalised – are made to endure considerable suffering. The environment, town-planning, aesthetics, etc., have become catch-all ways to pursue sectional interests against which none may stand. It is the belief of some that by making a society ‘seem’ developed, it would become so, when the models they are seeking to emulate have been through several stages of evolution, few of which can be leap-frogged in a revolutionary kind of manner. This does not mean, of course, that the environment, etc., are not important, but the priorities have to be set by those given the responsibility under the system, and not so much by various kinds of lobbies whose motivations are not entirely transparent.
In the case of the recent Uttarakhand High Court judgement, for instance, under which large scale demolitions took place across the state, the government was forced to bring an ordinance to prevent the large scale demolitions of thousands of homes belonging to the poor. However, a large number of people belonging to lower middle class areas are continuing to suffer. A well-meaning judgement disrupted the lives of lakhs of people because the regulations being sought to be enforced were mostly outdated. In innumerable cases, the people were not even aware of the violations and had inherited them from past owners. The widespread nature of encroachment – being interpreted in extreme ways in the present – was actually caused by the dereliction of duty and corruption of the very agencies seeking to enforce the judgement in the present.
It is the job of the political leadership to cut the Gordian knot by revising the laws so that relief can be provided where it is due. Otherwise, even though the firman may have been issued by the courts, the impact will be felt by those seeking votes in the elections.