Wednesday, April 24, 2013

With Retrospective Effect

Lying on my bed pondering over the events of the day, I wondered about the great potential of this concept – ‘With Retrospective Effect’. Though it is used mostly in the government and its various agencies, it has an even greater utility for the world outside.

There have been certain high-profile cases related to taxation laws where this concept was used to settle Government’s rivalries with the Judiciary (and also to increase its revenues – one of them being pretty recent). Such actions though invariably become & remain controversial.

Why should it be a preserve only for taxation laws? Our constitution bars any ex-post-facto criminal legislation but the ocean of civil laws is open for us.

So the authorities also grabbed on this Eureka moment and started exploring their options. The land authorities passed land acquisition laws to acquire land with retrospective effect for various projects. Where is the question of any dispute or any compensation if land is already owned by the authorities (w.r.e.)?

A judge while deciding a divorce case annulled the marriage and declared the man and the woman unmarried bachelors w.r.e. from the day before their marriage. There was some confusion, however, on the fate of the child. But if there was no marriage, there can’t be a child. So the child simply doesn’t exist. Problem solved.

An enterprising politician suggested that we should cancel the creation of Pakistan w.r.e. Another quipped that the British colonization should be abrogated w.r.e. A third was thinking of going back to the medieval ages and a fourth to the ancient, their specific agenda getting lost in their own squabbles. But what a wonderful way of changing history; having a pristine past with a clean slate.

A philosopher picked up a hole in the story. Something is wrong. How can we change our past? Won’t it affect our present and our future? And isn’t it the stuff of sci-fi movies to go back in time and change the past, present & future? Back to the future? Timer Machine? Have we developed a novel way of time travel?

A bureaucrat explained that it is a pretty simple thing, nothing like the time travel. It is all notional. It is all virtual. It is simply not real. The past remains what it was. It is deemed not to have existed. Just that. He would have explained in further detail had somebody not asked what if his appointment in the service is deemed not to have existed.

When it came to wiping the slate clean, some people started taking it literally. And if the slate can be cleaned, it can be re-dirtied also. I love you w.r.e. I don’t know you w.r.e. I changed the alarm for today morning so that I can get up w.r.e. Beep Beep Beep. Yes that’s how my alarm rings. You will fail if you don’t study w.r.e. Beep. Beep. Beep. OK again my alarm rings. I have started dieting w.r.e. Beep Beep Beep. What’s wrong with my alarm. Beep Beep Beep. Beep Beep Beep. Beep Beep Beep.

Many times I have wondered how I know in my dreams when the alarm will go off. So I get up and reach office. A letter was waiting at my desk. ‘You have been fired w.r.e.’.

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