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Mainstream, Vol XLVII No 10, February 21, 2009

On Justice Sachar’s Dignified Rebuke of Army Chief

Monday 23 February 2009, by A K Biswas


Many voices of sanity should be raised in favour of Justice Rajindar Sachar’s dignified rebuke of the Chief of the Indian Army, General Deepak Kapur. He decidedly far exceeded his jurisdiction to declare that “we have kept all our options open, if diplomatic and economic options fail, war is the last resort”.

The nation should have felt deeply alarmed and anguished at an unexpected statement by the Army Chief, particularly having regard for the fate of Pakistan next door. The people there have not known what democracy is all about for over sixty years. Bangladesh too has been supervened by the tragedy of military rule. We cannot overlook the implications of the happenings in our immediate neighbourhood. We shouldn’t be surprised if the upper echelons of the Indian Army too nurse similar ambitions. Ambition for seizing absolute power can spring in the hearts of men in uniform in India too. Such a possibility is utterly dangerous to think with equanimity of mind. Under the military boots, we must
be sure, the shape and character of India will be little different from those of Pakistan or Bangladesh.

In the backdrop of the implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, the uniformed services, for example, the military, paramilitary and police, have in many respects stolen a march over their civilian counterparts. The political classes at the helm of affairs must carefully ponder whether their precedence over the civilians is at all desirable particularly in a democracy. At the bureaucratic level in some States, ominous signs have already started showing up. Those are directly attributable to the favours showered on the Indian Police Service while implementing the recommendations of the Central Sixth Pay Commission by the Government of India.

A.K. Biswas

(Former Vice-Chancellor,

NOIDA, 201301 B.R. Ambedkar University)

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