Gundai phalti hai ( Hooliganism makes one prosper )

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a sit-in (dharna) protest against CBI raid to Kolkata Police Commissioner house at Metro Channel in Kolkata last night on Feb. 04, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a sit-in (dharna) protest against CBI raid to Kolkata Police Commissioner house at Metro Channel in Kolkata last night on Feb. 04, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

By Justice Markandey Katju

There was a lawyer in the Allahabad High Court who openly used to say ” Mujhe gundai phali hai ” ( Hooliganism has made me prosper ). He used to threaten, cow down, and overawe judges. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, he prospered in law practice, and achieved important positions.

Similarly, there is a TV anchor in India, whom I call Lord Bhow Bhow ( naming him after the infamous Lord Haw Haw ), who shouts, screams and misbehaves on his shows, but because of which he and his channel have prospered.

A similar example is the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. She has prospered in her political career by her demagoguery, ranting and railing, and street antics, a technique which she pursued throughout her political career.

The latest example of this is what she did recently, when after 4 of her partymen were arrested for taking bribes, as depicted in the video tapes in a sting operation. On coming to know of their arrest, she went with hundreds of goons of her party, the Trinamul Congress ( TMC ), to the Kolkata office of the Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI ) where she sat on dharna for 6 hours doing a drama of demanding her own arrest, while her party goons pelted stones, blocked roads, burnt tyres, and created a ruckus outside the CBI office.

https://news.abplive.com/news/narada-scam-case-tmc-supporters-hold-protest-outside-cbi-office-kolkata-four-leaders-arrested-watch-video-1458776

Does it behove a Chief Minister to behave like this ?

Is it becoming for a person holding such a high office to personally go to the CBI office and sit on dharna there, while allowing her partymen to take the law into their own hands ?

The job of the government is to maintain law and order, and surely not to break it.

The High Court rightly castigated the incident in its order suspending the bail granted by the CBI Court, saying :

“Confidence of the people in the justice system will be eroded in case such types of incidents are allowed to happen in the matters where political leaders are arrested and are to be produced in the Court. Public trust and confidence in the judicial system is more important, it being the last resort. They may have a feeling that it is not rule of law which prevails but it is a mob which has an upper hand and especially in a case where it is led by the Chief Minister of the State in the office of CBI and by the Law Minister of the State in the Court Complex.”

Despite these strong strictures by the High Court they are unlikely to change Mamata, whose whole career has prospered by following the dictum of the Allahabad High Court lawyer abovementioned. Gundai phalti hai.

(Justice Markandey Katju is former Chairman, Press Council of India and former Judge, Supreme Court of India.)

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