Opinion DC Comment 31 Mar 2019 Hardik Patel ruling ...

Hardik Patel ruling raises brows

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Mar 31, 2019, 2:42 am IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 3:08 am IST
In contrast, the case against Mr Patel is for championing a sociopolitical movement.
Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel
 Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel

The law is said to be blind. But those dispensing justice are sometimes said to be blindsided by circumstance or struck by woodenness. This comes to mind in the case of the young firebrand Gujarat Patidar leader, Hardik Patel, who recently joined the Congress party and was hoping to be a candidate for the Lok Sabha polls from the Jamnagar constituency in Saurashtra.

On Friday, the Gujarat High Court rejected his application for a stay on his conviction in a 2015 rioting case in Visnagar in the course of the Patidar agitation. In 2017 Mr. Patel was convicted by a local court.

 

The high court's decision will stun many. According to a tally last year by the Association for Democratic Reforms, 1,580 MLAs and MPs face criminal charges. They are yet to be convicted, of course, but the ongoing cases against many of them are for heinous crimes, and they resort to appeals to keep the ball in play.

In contrast, the case against Mr Patel is for championing a sociopolitical movement. To take a parallel from history, the British colonial authorities in India would have foisted thousands of cases against nationalists, Gandhi being just one example.

By keeping the 25-year old from the electoral arena, the high court has shown it is missing any sense of perspective or proportion. But many actions of the judiciary do not any longer cause surprise. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had ordered several sensitive 2002 communal violence cases to be tried outside Gujarat for fear of miscarriage of justice within the state.

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