As the nation celebrates a Rajya Sabha nomination for the master blaster, a kill-joy writes a letter to president Pratibha Patil, reminding her of the constitution. A post-script asks Sachin to get back and ask his friend Mukesh Ambani
Rohit Bansal | April 27, 2012
Dear Madam President:
Sorry to be a kill joy, but pray take a look at what the eligibility criteria for your nominated members to the Rajya Sabha says?
While you have the best legal brains available to you, we mere mortals only have Google! So, what pops up there is your election commission website. The FAQ seems instructive enough:
"Article 80 (3) of the constitution of India provides that the members to be nominated by the president to Rajya Sabha should have special knowledge or practical experience in matters like literature, science, art and social service."
So, where does the master qualify?
Background and the whole list of all nominated members so far: read here
Vote in Day's Debate: Does the constitution permit Tendulkar's nomination?
Have you granted him nomination for literature, the body of evidence being his one-off signed columns or even digital ‘literature’ such as sound bytes he gives to Ravi Shastri after yet another blitzkrieg?
Or does Sachin qualify for “special knowledge” and/or "practical experience" in the "science/art" of batting?
There are others who won’t grudge him the Rajya Sabha nomination for the “social service” involved in lifting the morale of a nation reeling under your government.
But all said, it would be extremely instructive to know what went in your mind when you endorsed the recommendation from 10 Janpath.
Since it’s Sachin, a disclaimer is warranted. Your humble writer is a fan of his batting like everyone else in the country. He is just as eminent (perhaps more) than many of the past and present alumni of the nominated club, say, Hema Malini, who was nominated under this category but rather than recede from active politics, freely attended BJP rallies for which she was rewarded with membership of the party’s national executive.
I wouldn’t even go near other examples like Dara Singh. “Science” and/or “practical experience” of kushti, right? It’s a technicality that this column is pointing to. This is as much to Sachin, who remains a role of propriety and grace, the occasional Ferrari exemption notwithstanding.
We didn’t expect him to nitpick about constitutional niceties. Or even lobby for a nomination. It was, perhaps, for elder statesmen, desperate as they are for credibility with younger India, to think whether they remain correct before the constitution. A simple way could have been to move an amendment, which you would have signed gladly. A process, no doubt less cumbersome than a change in the constitution, was followed regarding the criteria for Bharat Ratna. But if the treasury benches had moved a bill for inserting sports in Article 80(3) the cat would have been out of the bag, and the surprise factor forfeited.
Some would ask how actress Rekha is any better qualified than Sachin. So, if Rekha, why not Sachin? It’s a pertinent point worth answering in 140 characters. Rekha and Sachin may pack just as little towards law making, she has at least your constitution by her side. That she conforms to the laid out criteria, it’s really your discretion thereafter vis-à-vis, say, Zeenat Aman or any other heroines who worked with Mr Bachchan!
I hope an RTI application seeking to know how you satisfied yourself (or didn’t) would tell us more. A cricket-baiter judge like Justice Katju may even admit a public interest litigation. Of course, by then the sound bite soldiers may have to trudge to your humble home coming up in Pune!
Note to Sachin: Sir, I agree that you are above the law. So, I can only point you towards your friend Mukesh Ambani. He may confirm that Dhirubhai, his father, was once asked why he didn’t run for parliament. Legend has it that Dhirubhai smiled and his reply was, “Why be a member of a club you could own?” Despite this domain knowledge and earthy wisdom, Anil Ambani, unlike Mukesh, succumbed to the temptation of being MP. The resultant fall to being just one among 800 others doesn’t bear repetition. Anil had Amar Singh to string him into this. Who strung you? Sad to see god and his proud wife driving down to thank Sonia-ji!
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