Lalu's trick fails, SC refuses to change trial judge

The SC judgment is a major setback to Lalu who is still reckoned in Bihar as a formidable political force

ajay

Ajay Singh | August 13, 2013


RJD president Lalu Prasad
RJD president Lalu Prasad

With the supreme court dismissing the petition of former Bihar chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav who sought to change the special CBI judge in Ranchi hearing the fodder scam case, there is a strong possibility of political equations in Bihar undergoing a sea change.

The three-member SC bench headed by chief justice P Sathasivam has also directed the special CBI judge at Ranchi to deliver the verdict as soon as possible. The turn of events came quite unexpectedly as Yadav has been desperately resorting to legal stratagems to stall the verdict of the trial court.

Though Yadav did not find sympathetic hearing from the Ranchi High Court where his petition of changing the judge on the ground of “impartiality” was dismissed, he managed to evoke a degree of sympathy from the Supreme Court in two earlier hearings last month.  When chief justice Sathasivam asked the prosecution and the accused to shortlist the names of the judges in case the court ordered thus, it seemed that the apex court was actually inclined to grant this extraordinary relief for Lalu.

It caused some consternation in the judicial and political circles. It was being seen as yet another success for Lalu in the way he has manipulated the legal process to delay the case. If the court had ordered a retrial when the trial court had set a date for judgement, merely because the judge happened to be a distant relative of a JDU minister who had just lost an election to Lalu's lieutenant, it would have put the whole judicial process behind by at least a decade. And set a rather sad precedent. An intervention application filed by the original petitioner in the  fodder  scam, Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh, drew the attention of the SC bench comprising Justice Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Desai and Juistice Ranjan Gogoi towards the dilatory tactics of Lalu.

On August 6, veteran lawyer Shanti Bhushan intervened for Lallan and tore apart the arguments of Yadav that the trial would be unfair if the presiding special judge of the CBI court was not changed. He effectively contradicted the insinuation that the judge would be biased as he was a relative of Yadav’s rival and a minister in the nitish Kumar Government. Raising serious questions about the unintended fallout of any move to change the trial court judge, Shanti Bhushan pointed out that such a move would convince people that politicians in the country can never be hauled up before the courts no matter how serious their crimes.

The SC judgment on Tuesday is a major setback to Lalu who is still reckoned in Bihar as a formidable political force. Given the fact that the trials in the fodder scam have seen scores of convictions, Lalu's political fate could be hanging on this verdict. If he is convicted in the case, he would not only be jailed but also forbidden to contest in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. A recent apex court judgement has held that convicted legislators cannot contest elections. 

Political parties as one have resolved to either file a review petition or amend the law to overturn the SC’s direction on the issue. Given the popular resentment over such a move, it appears quite difficult for the union government embroiled in corruption cases to resort to tactics which will be seen as justifying corruption.  In such a scenario, Lalu’s conviction in the fodder scam would invariably mark the beginning of an end for one of Bihar’s most charismatic and controversial political personalities. And this will set the stage for new political realignments which will have significant bearing on the national scene.
 

Comments

 

Other News

Budget creates the ground – now it’s time for these steps

On February 1, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the Union Budget. As Dr. Rajiv Kumar, the Pahle India Foundation chairman and former NITI Aayog vice chairman, succinctly summed up, “Budget 2023 is a consolidation of the gains over the years, and a positive step towards sustained economic

Should India look for another capital?

The Indian Metropolis: Deconstructing India’s Urban Spaces By Feroze Varun Gandhi Rupa, 840 pages, Rs 1,500 Feroze Varun Gandhi, a Member of Parliament from the BJP, has been a published poet. He is also a policy expert – he had published &

Railways’ freight earnings up by 16%

On mission mode, Indian Railways` Freight loading for first ten months of this financial year 2022-23 has crossed last year’s loading and earnings for the same month. On cumulative basis from April 2022 to January 2023, freight loading of 1243.46 MT was achieved against last year&rsquo

BMC announces Rs 52,619.07 crore budget

Mumbai’s municipal commissioner and administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal on Saturday announced a Budget of Rs 52,619.07 crore for 2023-2024, an increase of 20.67% over a revised budget estimate of Rs 43607.10 crore for 2022-23. The overall budget size has doubled in five years. In 2017-18

Making sense of the ‘crisis of political representation’

Imprints of the Populist Time By Ranabir Samaddar Orient BlackSwan, 352 pages, Rs. 1105 The crisis of liberal democracy in the neoliberal world—marked by massive l

Budget: Highlights

Union minister of finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday. The highlights of the Budget are as follows: PART A     Per capita income has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh in around

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter