Even god cannot help India: Supreme Court

August 5th, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Condemning the government’s attitude in tackling the problem of politicians and bureaucrats overstaying in government bungalows, the Supreme Court Tuesday remarked that even god cannot help this country. Dejected by the government’s unwillingness to accept the court’s earlier proposal to amend laws to declare overstaying in government bungalows akin to trespassing and make it a non-bailable offence, a bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi observed: “God alone will help them (the country).”

Justice Agrawal then added: “Even god will not be able to help this country. God has become a mute spectator. He also feels helpless.”

With the government dithering to accept the bench’s earlier suggestion, it first said: “They don’t apply the mind. In fact, they don’t have the mind.

“These secretary-level officers don’t have the guts to differ with the opinion of their clerks.”

Finding the bench in a ferocious mood, Additional Solicitor General Amrendra Saran sought to reason with it saying the government has over 99,000 bungalows and the number of cases of overstaying in them is around 300, less than 0.03 percent.

Saran added that there are sufficient legal provisions to deal with the problem and it does not require changing the law.

The law officer’s argument, however, ended up infuriating the bench further.

“Acts are there, guidelines are there, but who bothers (to get them implemented)? Nobody bothers,” it said and added: “No government works. The whole government has become non-functional. That’s why there are PILs (public interest litigations).”

The bench went on to blame politicians even for flooding courts with PILs. “When they are in power, they cry against judicial activism. When they are not in power, they file PILs.”

Upset by the government’s unwillingness to accept the court’s suggestion and amend the law - what the Uttar Pradesh and Orissa governments have done, the bench eventually dropped its proposal, while dictating its order on the day’s proceedings.

But even in its written order, the bench did not refrain from passing terse remarks against the government and termed its stand against changing the law as “condemnable”.

“It will be futile for us to make any observation in relation to the stand taken by the union and various state governments, though in our view, their stand is condemnable in view of the galloping trend of unauthorised occupants, which neither the union nor the state governments are in position to control,” it said.

“It appears that the authorities are taking steps under ordinary law and acting in leisurely manner and that too at the command of this court,” added the bench in its written order, while dropping its suggestion to amend the law to deal with the problem.

The bench’s observations came during the hearing of a PIL seeking the court’s intervention in dealing with the nationwide problem of politicians and bureaucrats overstaying in government quarters for years after their retirement or when they are not entitled to occupy it. The court has been hearing the PIL since 2004.

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