In an edit page article in the Indian Express of 10-09-2015, A G Noorani takes further the ongoing Leftist campaign to turn India into a socialist police state with the help of courts:
“This is not a private affair between one citizen and another. It touches the secular basis of our nationhood. The UPA government had drafted the Equal Opportunities Commission Bill. But the NDA government is not in a great haste to secure its enactment. However, if Parliament remains inactive, the judiciary would be well within its powers to intervene. It is the state’s duty to provide houses for the citizen, which is why state corporations are set up to build houses. The right to work cannot be denied either. In each case, the private sector undertakes activities that are properly the state’s concern. Even in that haven of private enterprise — the United States — the Supreme Court developed the doctrine of “businesses affected with a public interest” as far back as in 1876. Thus, the rental of houses in the city of Washington during wartime was held to be such a business. Abuses by such entities, in housing or employment, are amenable to judicial correction even in the absence of legislation.”(from the linked article)
For the last couple of years, a sinister campaign is on in media to play up cases of denial by home owners to rent out their homes to media’s preferred victim group of the moment.
There are many categories of persons who have always found it difficult to get a house on rent in our cities. For example: single boys or single girls. But it was taken as a given that the owner of a house will only take in someone he feels safe and comfortable with. It was never taken to mean that homeowners were victimising or discriminating against single boys or single girls.
But now suddenly it is being played up in media as discrimination and victimisation. As if, if an homeowner has put up his house for rent, he has to rent it out to the first person who turns up at his door, otherwise he is discriminating against that person. Same goes for jobs in private enterprises. Every rejection is now claimed to be a discrimination, as if a private enterprise has to hire the first applicant on the list, without checking his or her suitability.
In the saner times discrimination word was used only in the context of cases of public or private premises put to public use-like restaurants, cinema halls, shopping areas- but denying entry to persons on the basis of markers like colour, Caste, creed, ethnicity, etc. If a home has been put on market, to be rented out, it does not become the private premise put to public use. One, or two/three, tenant is not “public.” It remains a private affair between two individuals, and the premise being negotiated to be rented out also remains a private space in exclusive ownership of the homeowner. Likewise, no authority can be allowed to challenge the right of a private employer to choose his employee.
A G Noorani repeats many worn out Leftist assertions in his article: one being that housing is the responsibility of state. According to which article of the Constitution, he doesn’t tell us. To prove this he advances the theory that because state has Housing Construction Corporations, so providing housing becomes responsibility of state. The State Housing Construction Corporations themselves are the relics of socialist era of Nehru-Gandhi. So one socialist programme is being cited to make another socialist demand justified.
He also cites the US example of courts upholding rent control laws. So if the US courts allow something unconstitutional, so must the Indian courts, he means. He also mentions that the US courts have stepped in to end entry discrimination. But they did so to end entry discrimination at places like restaurants, that is, private spaces put to public use. The courts in the US have never held that a home put out for rent becomes a public space to be rented out to the first person who turns up at the door.
Of course the US courts have now started interfering in the private employers’ right to choose their employees, and as a result the US manufacturing and businesses have started dying. Because if the freedom of citizens to enter into mutually agreeable contract is interfered with, the economy always start decaying.
Indian leftists are expert at cherrypicking practices from the west. A G Noorani is no different. He talks of US practices which suit him, whereas he has written at length in the past advocating curtailment of Freedom of Speech all over the world, including the US.
The Constitutional revolution of the 1937 in the US happened because the courts were psyched into submission by the Leftists led by the then President himself, FDR, after a sustained campaign in the media of calling courts anti-people and pro-rich, for upholding sanctity of private property rights and sanctity of contracts. Once the courts caved in, it has been downhill for the private property rights and the sanctity of contracts in the US, and also as another result a huge administrative state has come into being in the US in place of a limited Federal government imagined by its Founding Fathers. Leftist redistribution of wealth in the US has been achieved by first browbeating the courts into utter submission to the Leftist thought.
Same has slowly happened in India also. Leftists here, through their control of media, have psyched courts into becoming enforcers of Leftist programmes, many times legislating these programmes into law through judicial pronouncements. This planned nationalisation of private homes is the latest in the long tradition of Leftists getting what they want through courts, even if people reject their programmes at hustings. Of course it has long been forgotten by the courts in India that they are the guardians of Rights of individuals against majorities in legislature.
If Indians do not remain vigilant, they would lose this last remaining private property out of the reach of law: their own homes. India would truly become a Leftist gulag. Because, without private property, no political freedom is possible. Vote banks will commandeer homes of individuals at will. In desperation, people would abandon the practice of renting out their homes, and even constructing homes in advance of need, to earn some income by way of rent. And then we will have true unavailability of houses on rent. And economic progress of course will also die as a result, as it dies in all socialist countries. Housing sector in India is already very underdeveloped because of our unconstitutional rent control laws. This nationalisation of homes will truly finish it.