Jus­tice Kar­nan’s Case: An In­side Story Of In­dian Ju­di­ciary

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world, we must first try to know the per­son who is the pi­o­neer of cham­pi­oning a lib­eral cul­ture in a coun­try un­der an or­tho­dox and strict regime. Has­san Rouhani played a cru­cial role dur­ing the days of the rev­o­lu­tion. He is of­ten ac­cused of caus­ing the as­sas­si­na­tion of sev­eral op­po­nents. He be­came a loy­al­ist to the cler­i­cal fam­ily, and per­formed var­i­ous roles in the armed forces and diplo­macy. In the year 2002, Rouhani be­came the Chief Nu­clear Ne­go­tia­tor of Iran and man­aged to reach a deal with the Euro­pean coun­tries to sus­pend ura­nium en­rich­ment. But, the hard­liner Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmedine­jad dis­al­lowed any for­eign in­flu­ence in for­mu­lat­ing the Ira­nian poli­cies which re­sulted in the res­ig­na­tion of Has­san Rouhani as the Chief Ne­go­tia­tor. The hard­liner agenda only doomed the growth of Iran. The sus­pen­sion of nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions in­vited in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions lead­ing to the crip­pling of the Ira­nian econ­omy. But dur­ing the elec­tions of 2013, Has­san Rouhani marked a new trend in the pol­i­tics of Iran as the open crit­i­cism of the hard­lin­ers was some­thing new to the peo­ple of Iran. Rouhani promised dur­ing his then pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to un­der­take de­vel­op­men­tal goals and job-cre­ation in co­op­er­a­tion with the western economies. Such a state­ment was against the Ira­nian hard­liner po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere. But Mr. Rouhani was well aware of the re­cent trends and he was aware of the need of the peo­ple. These prom­ises worked well in his favour as he man­aged a vic­tory as the Pres­i­dent of the coun­try. Dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial ten­ure, IRAN-USA marked the be­gin­ning of a new re­la­tion. The tele­phonic conversation be­tween the then Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Has­san Rouhani was glob­ally seen as the en­trance of Iran into the in­ter­na­tional do­main. The fa­mous Nu­clear Deal led to the lift­ing of In­ter­na­tional sanc­tions and marked a new be­gin­ning. The root cause of the is­sue was the Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram, and the in­ter­na­tional set­tle­ment not only opened the veil of nu­clear threat but also made Iran a new des­ti­na­tion of global in­vest­ments. The far-sighted de­ci­sions of Mr. Rouhani were wel­comed by the masses but equally crit­i­cized by the hard­lin­ers and seen with skep­ti­cism. The land­mark deal was also seen with sus­pi­cion by Saudi Ara­bia and Is­rael due to the lack of trust and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween these coun­tries. But, more­over this deal along with sev­eral re­formist agen­das gave Mr. Rouhani a dif­fer­ent image con­trary to the con­ven­tional ear­lier Pres­i­dents. 2017 Elec­tions & Chal­lenges Ahead The 2017 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Iran were in­ter­na­tion­ally viewed as a sym­bol of hope and fear. The hope was the ful­fill­ment of the prom­ises in the land­mark deal and lead­ing Iran to­wards a path of a more open coun­try to the world. But, the fear along­side was the hard­liner ap­proach which may jeop­ar­dize the ef­forts un­der­taken by all the stake­hold­ers in reach­ing the land­mark deal. So, the elec­tions could be said to be con­tested be­tween two schools of thought. On the one side was the Lib­eral School un­der the lead­er­ship of Has­san Rouhani and on the other side was Hard­liner group un­der the lead­er­ship of Ebrahim Raisi backed by the cler­ics. As men­tioned above, the Ira­nian pol­i­tics is hugely de­ter­mined with the sup­port of the cler­i­cal fam­ily. The Supreme Leader’s sup­port is of vi­tal im­por­tance in main­tain­ing a strong­hold in the Ira­nian pol­i­tics. Ebrahim Raisi is con­sid­ered to be a closer as­so­ciate of Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­laha Khei­mini. Dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Mr. Raisi made an at­tempt in in­vok­ing the hard­liner ap­proach of grow­ing de­pen­dence on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and in­sti­gat­ing the re­li­gious feel­ing where the lib­eral stance was seen as a threat to the re­li­gion. Mr. Raisi also high­lighted the fail­ure of Mr. Rouhani’s poli­cies of rais­ing em­ploy­ment. There were chal­lenges ahead of Mr. Rouhani both be­fore and af­ter elec­tions. Let us first ex­am­ine the chal­lenges to his road to Pres­i­dent ship. He had faced sev­eral con­dem­na­tions for his poli­cies. The vot­ers were also sus­pi­cious due to the preva­lent rates of un­em­ploy­ment. But, Mr. Rouhani strate­gized his cam­paign in the man­ner which would woo the elec­torate and also gain sup­port of the hard­lin­ers. He main­tained his stance of fol­low­ing a lib­eral ap­proach and mak­ing Iran more open to the world, but he also as­sured the elec­torates and cler­ics his de­ci­sions would serve to­wards bring­ing pros­per­ity in Iran and would not pose any re­li­gious threat. His un­com­pro­mised po­si­tion in se­cur­ing the re­li­gious ideals helped him in gain­ing sup­port from the cler­ics. He was of­ten posed with the ques­tion of em­ploy­ment-cre­ation to which he made a prag­matic stand. He vowed to his com­mit­ment, but also gave the elec­torate a choice that his re­main­ing in power would only al­low him to take fur­ther steps. His ouster would only lead to the threat of scrap­ping the nu­clear deal and newer sanc­tions which would only make the con­di­tions worse. Mr. Rouhani ended up suc­cess­fully man­ag­ing to con­vince the elec­torate and come up with a sweep­ing vic­tory. But, now af­ter con­quer­ing the in­ter­nal chal­lenges, he is posed with some in­ter­na­tional chal­lenges. Peace Maker or Peace Breaker

The war-torn Mid­dle East is mas­sively di­vided on the lines of re­li­gious and ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences. The war in the re­gion has largely desta­bi­lized the Mid­dle East and bears a global im­pact with ris­ing lev­els of rad­i­cal­iza­tion and xeno­pho­bia. So, how Iran plays a cru­cial role in sta­bi­liz­ing the re­gion or fur­ther nur­tur­ing the seeds of rad­i­cal­iza­tion? To un­der­stand this bet­ter, we must first ex­am­ine the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing state of the Mid­dle East. The war rav­aged re­gion has led to blood­bath lead­ing to bru­tal war crimes. The war in Ye­men can be taken as an ex­am­ple of the ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences. By this, we may also ex­am­ine the Saudi-iran dif­fer­ences as both the coun­tries are the stake­hold­ers. The Houthi Rebels be­long­ing to the Shia ide­ol­ogy are said to have the back­ing of Iran whereas the Saudis i.e. Sun­nis have been against the rebels terming them as a ter­ror out­fit and have con­stantly bom­barded their lo­ca­tions. Mr. Rouhani here would have to main­tain a bal­ance in his ac­tions where his ap­proach to­wards Saudi does not be­come the rea­son of his down­fall in­ter­nally, but on the other hand he would also have to be care­ful in tak­ing strict ac­tions against the Saudis due to their close prox­im­ity with the western coun­tries. The land­mark deal with the P5+1 must be aimed at fur­ther­ing the goals. Mr. Rouhani would have to main­tain his “diplo­matic sheikh” image be­cause it is ev­i­dent that he would face sev­eral in­ter­nal pres­sures in­clud­ing from the Supreme Leader, and in or­der to achieve the goals he would have to be care­ful by not suc­cumb­ing to the in­ter­nal pres­sures. The road ahead for him does not seem to be easy. As the sus­pen­sion of the nu­clear pro­gram may heighten the ten­sions with the rival coun­tries, it would be seen as mak­ing Iran vul­ner­a­ble to ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sion. Here, the Pres­i­dent would have to play the role of a peace maker but more prag­mat­i­cally. Any un­cal­cu­lated move can be the cause of a big catas­tro­phe. Com­ing to its In­dian ap­proach, then Mr. Rouhani can have a sigh of re­lief. Iran-in­dian has a more open-ended diplo­matic re­la­tions. The vic­tory of Mr. Rouhani goes in com­plete fa­vor of the In­dian in­ter­est. In­dia can­not un­der­mine the strate­gic im­por­tance of Iran be­ing a neigh­bor­ing coun­try of Pak­istan. Iran and Pak­istan do not share cor­dial re­la­tions due to the ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences and Pak­istan’s close prox­im­ity with Iran. These dif­fer­ences are ad­van­ta­geous in the In­dian in­ter­est, as In­dia can ex­ploit these dif­fer­ences by en­gag­ing with Iran by diplo­matic and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion. The con­struc­tion of Ch­habar Port is one among other moves where In­dia has pre­sented its rap­port with Iran. Mr. Rouhani be­ing also aware of the large Shia pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try would at­tempt to cre­ate a co-op­er­a­tive at­mos­phere where both the coun­tries can en­gage in dif­fer­ent fields and strive to build stronger re­la­tions with In­dia. In­dia’s pres­ence is felt world­wide and Iran would equally want to ex­ploit this op­por­tu­nity for the devel­op­ment and pros­per­ity of its ci­ti­zens and also se­cure it­self from ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sions know­ing the mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity of In­dian armed forces. Ira­ni­ans show their fin­ger af­ter cast­ing their vote in the first round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion at a polling sta­tion

What hap­pens when you see your teach­ers fight­ing in your school cor­ri­dor or how do you feel af­ter watch­ing your grand­par­ents con­front each other. Our coun­try, the largest democ­racy of the world, wit­nessed some­what sim­i­lar in­stances last month when the apex court con­victed a sit­ting judge of Madras High Court for crim­i­nal con­tempt and sen­tenced him a jail term for six months, some­thing which is quite un­prece­dented. The ju­di­ciary be­ing the guardian or teach­ers tak­ing on one of their own mem­bers which came as an aber­ra­tion, not be­cause there is no con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion for pun­ish­ing a sit­ting judge, there is: the re­moval of judges un­der Ar­ti­cle 124 of the In­dian con­sti­tu­tion. Not only the ju­di­cial spec­trum (in­clud­ing lawyers and judges) but even the polity of the coun­try was at sixes and sev­ens. The is­sue also stoked up a new le­gal dis­course in the coun­try and saw lawyers, politi­cians and bu­reau­crats tak­ing dif­fer­ent stands. The front page of the Front­line read Judges vs. Judges, which, to an ex­tent, is an apt de­scrip­tion but apart from the fact that a sit­ting judge was con­victed, there are many other dis­pu­ta­tions with the Supreme Court’s judg­ment. To un­der­stand the is­sue in a much more com­pre­hen­sive man­ner a glimpse at the chain of events in Jus­tice Kar­nan’s case would be quite help­ful. Jan­uary 23: Jus­tice Kar­nan wrote a let­ter to the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia ex­hort­ing him to take some strict

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