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Restraint Needed


Governments have to understand the economic implications if they want policies to be successful. Otherwise, like Piranhas, the paradoxes will undo the best of intentions. Wishful thinking, utopian diktats are of little value. Solutions to problems have to be found by those with the necessary know-how, not amateurs who cannot be held accountable for the consequences. Take for example the High Court’s direction that fifty thousand Covid tests be carried out per day at the Kumbh Mela. The capacity did not exist, but ‘supply’ came into being to meet the demand because there was money involved. Bogus tests, obviously, pushed out whatever genuine ones were taking place. In the process, the lives of millions were endangered. Of course, the active participants in the scam will be taken to task, as also small level officials who will be held directly responsible for the lapse, but what about those who created the situation in the first place?

The same process is underway regarding the Char Dham Yatra. This time, the government ought to plainly tell all stakeholders that it cannot meet stipulations imposed on it by those who cannot be held accountable later for the consequences.

Very soon, this issue of judicial overreach will become a major bone of contention. Does the system need to be reminded that laws and regulations are made by the legislature and these have to be interpreted by the courts almost always? Verdicts are supposed to be pronounced on the basis of arguments put forward by contending parties and not on the basis of subjective thinking. The big irony is that the same high standards expected of other institutions are nowhere to be seen in the outcomes of the judicial system.

Before a point of confrontation is reached that would vitiate the atmosphere in an already challenged situation, the Judiciary needs to introspect and contain its zealousness. As an upholder of free speech, it should be open to criticism and draw the necessary lessons. In India, power has to be answerable to the people, directly or indirectly. Mistakes or shortcomings in governance by the politicians are severely punished in the elections. The practical realities of administration have to be left to those constitutionally assigned to do the job. The umpires cannot begin to advise the captains in a cricket match on the best strategy to adopt for a win. Is that so difficult to understand?