Thursday, November 13, 2008

News 'Analysis'

Today's choice of op-ed articles caught my attention owing to their utter impertinence. The first by Natwar Singh 'news analysis' catalogues some letters exchanged by Pandit Nehru.with the King of England and his secretary. These may no doubt some interesting titbits from history though I fail to see what is there to analyze about it here. News analysis is supposed to contain perspectives on contemporary issues, not merely historical trivia.

The other article by T.R.Andhyarujina has the same problem. Franklin Roosevelt's court packing plan of the 1930s is a well-known fact of history that the author recites succinctly. There is however nothing new in what he has written. Nor he does tie these in any manner to the Indian situation. What then is the 'new' contribution he makes here? He draws two conclusions.

First is that even the highest judiciary at times tends to overstep its limits and intrude into policies of government with disastrous results for the nation. Secondly, methods to pack the court by government to obtain favourable verdicts can never be the means to correct the court verdicts even if they are egregiously wrong.

Fine. Everyone already knows that the judiciary can overstep limits with disastrous results for the nation. But who exactly in the Indian government today is trying to pack the courts to get favorable verdicts? I am not aware of any such plan made by anyone. If there was, that would have been scandalous enough to occupy the front pages of all newspapers and the top news stories in every TV channel. By the way, judges themselves appoint other judges in India. In that situation, the analogy to our system is weak if at all it exists. Once again, interesting but pointless. This may be worthy of space in the magazine section on a weekend but not an op-ed.

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