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A Permanent 'Thorn' In India's Flesh!

A Permanent 'Thorn' In India's Flesh!

Author: B. R. Haran
Publication:
Date: February 15, 2008

The Congress President Mrs.Sonia had accepted the title 'Grant Officer of the Order of Leopold' from the King of Belgium in November 2006, which makes her eternally devoted to Belgium and its Monarchy, as per the statute of becoming a Member of the Association for the Order of Leopold.

The complaint filed by Kerala based lawyer Mr.Rajan Menon in May 2007, against the Congress President Mrs.Sonia for accepting the "Grant Officer" grade of the Order of Leopold on November 15, 2006 personally at Belgium, has shown that this great nation has not gone dearth of patriotic citizens, who are concerned with the 'quality' & 'credibility' of our so-called law makers. Mr.Rajan Menon's valid contention was that "Mrs.Sonia' for having accepted this 'Order' from a Foreign Country in violation of Article 18 of the Constitution, as a Member of the Parliament in India deserves to be disqualified under Article 102(1)". So, he had duly sent his claim to the then President Dr.Kalam in May 2007. The well-reputed former President, who is known for his no-nonsense approach had expectedly done the right thing by promptly forwarding the complaint to the Election Commission for consideration. While the Chief Election Commissioner is known for his 'allegiance' to the Constitution and Rule of Law, the other two Election Commissioners are also notorious for their alleged 'allegiance' to the UPA government in general and Congress Party in particular. So, it is obvious & understandable that the issue has been dragging for the last nine months and even though one of the ECs Mr.Navin Chawla, for whose benefit the UPA government was prepared to the extent of even amending the Constitution, seemed to have gone with the CEC in issuing a show cause notice to Sonia, he had also exhibited his 'loyalty' by siding with the other EC Mr.Quaraishi in asking for a clarification from the Ministry of External Affairs, which doesn't have any locus standi to involve in this issue.

The point to note here is that, it is not going to stop with External Affairs Ministry. The Law Ministry, which went out of the way, keeping even the PM in dark, for the safe exit of "Mr.Q" from London along with the booty, and which was ready to amend the Constitution to save the EC Navin Chawla, would certainly step in with all its might, to nullify the CEC. As the issue centers on 'loyalty' or 'allegiance', both the External Affairs and Law Ministries would vie with each other in exhibiting their 'loyalties' to Belgium's Grant Officer! Now, since this issue has come out in to the open, it has become evident as to why the government was contemplating a Constitutional amendment to equalize the powers of all the three ECs. So, it was contemplated not only to save Mr.Chawla but also to save Mrs.Sonia.In the meantime, Dr.Subramanyam Swamy had clearly mentioned about a precedent in which the Tamil Nadu MLC member Mr.Haja Sherif was disqualified by the Madras High court (AIR 1985 Mad 855) in 1985 for accepting a title of "Honorary Consul" from a small European country. Now, the UPA may even attempt to amend the Article 102(1) in order to save its Chair Person provided, it convinces and manages to obtain the support of the Left.

Dr.Swamy had also come out with another valid point that, accepting this honor had brought disgrace to India, as King Leopold reigned over butchery, plunder and murder of the people of Belgium Congo, an African country, now called Zaire. A small introspection of history shows that, King Leopold of Belgium was a Grotesque Predator notorious for slave-trade and mass-murder! Accepting an "Honor" (!) in his name amounts to sheer immorality!

The Congress Party is trying to show a brave face by dismissing the matter as a 'Non-Issue'. The party it seems had written to the Election Commission saying that the honor is civilian in nature and not a title and hence it doesn't violate our constitution. Another interesting aspect in the issue is that, the Congress Spokesperson Mr.Abishek Singhvi had reportedly quoted the Belgian Prime Minister as having said that, the honor had been bestowed upon Mrs.Sonia for her Contributions to Indian Society and Indian Democracy! The fact that just a decade old politician is chosen by the Belgian Government for this 'great' honor goes to prove her 'immense' contributions to the Indian Society & Indian Democracy in such a short span of time and hence no one should attempt to quantify or evaluate her contributions. Taking in to consideration the history behind King Leopold, one wonders what sort of contributions the Belgian Government would have looked into!

Ultimately, the two Election Commissioners allegedly owing allegiance to UPA might prevail over the CEC. Otherwise, the UPA might attempt Constitutional amendments to save both Chawla and Sonia. But, it should convince the Left Front for support and if those attempts fail, then there is always the 'conscience' factor, which would come in handy as usual in the last minute. The "Inner Voice" would rescue the Congress President leading to her 'renouncing' the Membership of the Parliament, thereby helping her to attain the "Sainthood" for the third time in a row!

The issue would not be a problem at all if Mrs.Sonia is not a member of parliament. It would not have become a problem had she remained as a foreigner. The problem starts when a foreigner is allowed to enter Indian Politics and it continues when he/she is allowed to contest elections and aggravates when he/she is sworn in as a Member of Parliament and stabilizes when he/she becomes the Chief of the ruling alliance and worsens when he/she grows in stature beyond the Constitution!

A "Thorn" has got stuck in India's flesh; medicines would not help; the need of the hour is a Constitutional Surgery; unfortunately a surgeon is not visible even in the near future. People must learn to live with the pain at least for the time being!


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