Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shri Ravishankar Prasad's contempt for the bureaucracy

Last night on "The Buck stops here" on NDTV, yes I do watch the show even after the Radia tapes, on a debate if the UPA was on the backfoot with not giving in to the Opposition's demand for a JPC into the 2G spectrum sale issue Shri Ravishankar Prasad made a number of points about Polayil Joseph Thomas (current CVC PJ Thomas) but the one that stood out was that Mr Thomas didn't work as a Director or Secretary in New Delhi and hence on that account wasn't competent enough to hold the high office of CVC headquartered in New Delhi. 

This observation brought about a rather unsavoury side of our politicians (and I suppose bureaucrats too) who seem to think as New Delhi to be the center of the Indian populace around which our lives revolve. How is working in New Delhi a medal of honour on a bureaucrats uniform? How does it become a measure of excellence and merit? Dr Babu Paul asked these very questions back to Shri Ravishankar Prasad who seemed to have taken it personally and exhibited disgust at having to answer a question raised by a bureaucrat. I've read about instances where IAS / IPS officers are treated with contempt by some illiterate politicians but Shri Prasad, an eminent lawyer in the Supreme Court, an ex Minister in the Union of India !!!

A savvy modern politician exhibiting such contempt was unbecoming of a person with such experience in the public domain with such an illustrious political life. Shri Ravishankar Prasad in a fleeting moment of rage showed his real colour, probably a belief deep inside that the bureaucrats were essentially servants of the political class. In those vulnerable moments he probably also forgot that only the cream of our educated graduates manage to clear the Civil Services exams in the first place. Salutations to Dr Babu Paul for the dignified and measured response, people like him bring dignity and respect to the profession. 

Note: This author holds no brief for the current CVC Shri PJ Thomas, this author doesn't have any proof to believe he's guilty or innocent, this author doesn't have an opinion on that front either. Eventually the outcome of PIL in the Supreme Court will make it clear if Shri Thomas was tainted or caught in the middle of a raging political battle. Dr Babu Paul writing about his first step into the IAS be a nice article to read if you'd be interested to know more about him. 

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