The Supreme Court is deciding on a petition that challenges the forty-fourth amendment to our Constitution which deleted the “right to property” – article 19(1)(f). I had written about it, among other things, a couple of days back.
The petition is irrelevant. So is any possible favorable decision. And the answer lies in the petition itself-
Though the 1978 constitutional amendment was to permit government to acquire land for public purpose without being dragged to courts by big zamindars, the alteration of the status of the right to property never intended to harm small landholders, the petition stated.
Egalitarian constitutions have no integrity of their own. So they can be made to take any form and shape that the Will of the public demands. What is the guarantee that some socialist government that is elected in ten years time won’t have some new scheme up its sleeve; last time the targets were the zamindars – land lords, this time it could be anyone who owns more than one house? Our constitution is DEFECTIVE BY DESIGN. It cannot be repaired, or salvaged, or saved. A free India needs a constitution that is based on the idea of freedom from the State, not subservience to it. But the oldest question in the world will continue to plague us nonetheless. Who will watch the watchmen? Who will provide the guarantee that a constitution that has an integrity of its own will always be adhered to? I don’t think anyone can.
From the Times of India again, comes the story of corruption in the income tax department. the CBI has arrested an ITO, an ACIT, and a CA. Naturally, other income tax officials are not happy. But this case is hardly surprising, as I have said before. I don’t know how many of you are aware of an incident CNN-IBN reported a couple of years ago where confidential information provided to the IT department “somehow” ended up with the Bombay underworld and income tax filers received threats from them. Our benevolent State at work.
Another report – the cops will throw you in jail if you smoke imported cigarettes that don’t carry a warning label-
After banning smoking in public places, the Mumbai police have now decided to crack down on imported cigarettes whose packets do not carry the statutory warning. People caught selling or smoking such cigarettes will be fined. Cops also plan to request the courts to send repeat offenders behind bars.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
* One cannot sell or smoke cigarettes of foreign brands that do not have the statutory warning, telling people of the dangers of smoking.
* Penalty for the first offence is a fine of Rs 1,000.
* The maximum punishment is a prison term of three years.
So, the State assumes that unless cigarette cases carry a warning, people have no way of knowing that smoking is injurious to health. Further, to save you from injuring yourself from lack of knowledge, the State is ready to send you to an already overcrowded prison for a period of three years. Our benevolent State at work, again.
Murray Rothbard said–
“Instead of a bumbling and inefficient tool of society, the radical [libertarian] sees the State itself, in its very nature, as coercive, exploitative, parasitic, and hence profoundly antisocial. The State is, and always has been, the great single enemy of the human race, its liberty, happiness, and progress.”
To that I will add Voltaire’s “Crush the infamy!”