The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not taking action on an application seeking his sanction to start criminal proceedings against former telecom minister A Raja for his role in the 2G spectrum scam.

This is not an event that happens everyday. In fact, though the present state of India warrants it happening everyday, it should not. For, the judiciary is not to guide or compete with the government, but only to help the government uphold the democracy in the country.

What is further encouraging about the stricture – if we may call it so – is the aspect of ‘time’ in the issue of 2G Spectrum Scam. Because it has become a habit of sort of all political parties to drag the matters of corruption for so long that they die a natural death. In fact, for Congress (I) it has actually been a time-tested strategy. Late PM Narasimha Rao was one of the masters of this gameplan. Others – especially the regional parties – don’t spend even that much energy on such subjects and are blatantly dismissive of corruption charges.

So, when the SC rules that 16 months to respond to a query tantamounts to “worrying inaction and silence’, one gathers renewed hope about pace of reforms in the Indian system – whether on the subject of justice or to the subject of official accountability.

What adds to the above optimism is the role of media in all such matters. Sure, there are immoral and unscrupulous elements in media too, but even they – in search of newer markets – hop on to the bandwagon and help raise either a voice that cannot be ignored or a noise that becomes unbearable for all.

This combination of media/public pressure and judiciary can prove to be the most effective check that any democracy can hope for. And can prove to be a development that would impact all the political parties.

From now on, hopefully, the present Prime Minister and his party would be wary of ‘inaction’ on any subject. Amidst all the muck flying around, that new hope does come across as fresh air.


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