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Arun ends his post with the following lines;

Now at the brink of superpowerdom, India faces a herculean task in promoting and ensuring all-round development sans boundaries. A goal that simply cannot attain fruition if its citizens don’t trust each other.

Does this in anyway signify that the Supreme Court should step in and take action? I asked this in light of a recent Public Interest Litigation filed stating that the actions of Mr. Raj Thackerey violate a persons right to travel guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution. If this PIL actually gets admitted, its consequences on Constitutional law would be grave in nature; because traditionally the fundamental rights are challenged only against state action and Mr. Thackerey is in no way a ‘State’ as defined under Article 12. To go further, while any action in this area can be addressed by ordinary criminal law by lower Courts, it would charter a new dimension to Court activism which cannot be justified by any legal means.

In a follow up, the Court has now asked that the petition be amended and a reasoning based on Article 355 (Action by the government to prevent external attack and internal disturbances) be added. This would further complicate constitutional jurisprudence because under precedent (a long list starting from ADM Jabalpur’s case), the Court cannot direct the Government to impose an emergency or take action under Article 355.

While the situation in Mumbai represents a ‘sad story’ in Indian democracy, it surely cannot justify any action by the Supreme Court to transcend the Constitution and take action of its own accord. There are times when judicial activism creates a legal and moral dilemma and if the Court interferes, this would be one of them.

For long, the essential Marathi Mumbaikar has been bestowed with the stereotype of an anti-North Indian figurehead; effervescent hostility, a consequence of the mostly-rural migrants hijacking opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Of late, strained relations have reached their threshold and tension has come to the forefront. Perhaps, it might be a result of Mr. Raj Thackeray’s ill-refined attempt to capture precious seconds of media-fame; it may also be put down to the regional and political insecurities of Mumbai’s segregationist parties. Whatever be the case,  such antagonism has definitely proven to be a blemish in Mumbai’s cosmopolitan face.

The commercial capital of India has always been reputed to be a city of dreams; where many rags-to-riches stories have been scripted. Like any other major trading and industrial hub in the world, Mumbai too has witnessed its share of urban and suburban-centric migration. Quite evidently, many have been infected with a belief that the paucity of opportunities is solely a consequence of migratory workers (skilled or unskilled). This distress has subsequently assumed many flavours, to the extent that celebrities’ endorsement of their home states or celebration of regional festivals have become intolerable. What happened to our legendary assimilative culture that historical and political icons so eloquently spoke and wrote about? Why has India’s most successful city turned xenophobic to fellow countrymen??

I’m no prophet of doom, nor do I wish to stake the claim that this hostility is all-pervading. However, one cannot ignore the impact such events have had on our diaspora; the threat of many more recurring events in major cities, backlashes in rural areas and animosity amongst regional communities. We must not fail to realize that these events are not just isolated in its impact on Mumbai.

Now at the brink of superpowerdom, India faces a herculean task in promoting and ensuring all-round development sans boundaries. A goal that simply cannot attain fruition if its citizens don’t trust each other.