Mamata Banerjeeâ€™s statement that court orders can be bought has evoked various reactions, most of them against her. Her statement was taken in the context of West Bengal Human Rights Commission slapping a fine of 50,000 rupees for the arrest of a professor who had sent her cartoons through e-mail. Her critics said her statement was unacceptable and irresponsible; she was dictatorial, intolerant and does not have a sense of humour.
Mamata Banerjee did not mention WBHRC judgment. Taken in itself her statement is nothing new. The then CJI S. P. Bharucha had said 20% of the judiciary is corrupt. Nobody said his statement was unacceptable and irresponsible. A magistrate had issued four arrest warrants for 10,000 rupees each and the persons to be arrested included President Abdul Kalam and CJI Vishwanath Khare. Prashant Bhushan faces contempt of court case for stating eight of 16 former CJIs were corrupt. Soumitra Sen, a High Court judge, had faced removal by Parliament. He quit after Rajya Sabha voted to remove him. There was demand to prosecute Nirmal Yadav which was granted on the last day of her service.
No critic said Mamata Banerjee was wrong. Her critics know she spoke the truth. Contempt of court provision has been used to punish people, mainly journalists, who exposed judicial corruption. An MLA is immune from prosecution for contempt of court for whatever is said in the Legislative Assembly under Article 194 of the Constitution. Mamata Banerjee as an MLA enjoys immunity. Mamata Banerjee spoke in general terms. She did not mention anyone by name. Some dispute immunity saying the Assembly was not in session but the Article does not say the Assembly should be in session to have immunity.
Someone said there are some rotten eggs in judiciary but you should not condemn all. Even if there is one rotten egg it is one too many and rottenness spreads. Rotten eggs should be removed.
The lawyers who condemn Mamata Banerjee defend all types of criminals. They should introspect. May be they are afraid that Mamata Banerjee knows some incidents and she will go public.
Some argue a chief minister saying something against the judiciary will make people lose faith in the judiciary. Faith is lost when people do not get justice. People lose faith when cases drag on for years. People lose faith when murderers, rapists, molesters, abductors, swindlers and other criminals walk free or get bail easily or spend time in hospitals instead of jails. In Andhra Pradesh one judge faces prosecution for getting six crore rupees to give bail to Janardhana Reddy.
Mamata Banerjee being dictatorial, intolerant and not having a sense of humour is a separate issue. It does not add or subtract anything from the issue of judicial corruption.
Supreme Court judges have resisted the demand to declare their assets. They lost their case in Delhi High Court. Now the case is in Supreme Court. The judges are a party to dispute and they will decide.
Journalists who accompany hooligans, molesters and vandals and shoot the scenes and show them on TV are criminals. TV channels want to increase their TRPs and abet crimes. Journalists who abet and film crimes should be prosecuted for abetment to crime. TV channels should be barred from showing clips of hooligans and molesters beating and molesting women or someone being slapped more than once per hour.
A journalist is in jail for orchestrating the molestation of a girl outside a pub in Guwahati. His colleagues gave lame excuses for not helping the girl and talked about passers-by not helping the girl. His channel got wide publicity. In Mangalore journalists were present when goons entered a pub and attacked girls. In the latest case journalists of at least three channels accompanied the goons who attacked women in Morning Mist, a resort.
Journalists accompanying goons, filming beating, molestation, vandalism and such crimes, and telecast of such things should be crimes with punishment of minimum 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. TV channels committing such crimes should be fined minimum 100 crore rupees. Sections should be added in Indian Penal Code for that effect.
Some journalists conduct sting operations to lure simple people and ruin their lives. Their TV channels get publicity for some days. In Delhi one channel ruined the reputation of a teacher. The truth came out soon and she was saved. Some journalists have political affiliations. Journalists of Tehelka conduct sting operations that benefit Congress and hurt other parties. When some other journalists conduct sting operations that hurt Congress and benefit other parties, Tehelka journalists find fault with such sting operations. During TV discussions Vinod Sharma, Kumar Ketkar and Dileep Padgaonkar speak on the side of Congress, Swapan Dasgupta speaks on the side of BJP.
There are people who talk as if India was free from sex crimes and Indian men have suddenly taken to sex crimes. A few Indian men commit sex crimes and these people speak as if all Indian men are sex criminals.
Sex crimes have taken place since the beginning of history all over the world. Men in other countries commit sex crimes. In recent years due to TV channels there is more reporting of sex crimes.
Some say women should be careful about their dress. Eve teasers tease a woman whatever is her dress. Some say women should follow Indian dress code. What they mean is Pakistani dress code. Their knowledge of Indian culture is superficial. Ignorance is bliss.
Some criminals commit crimes because they want to appear to TV. Beating women in a pub and molesting a woman outside a pub is a sure way of publicity, more so when TV channels are informed in advance.
Some say men feel threatened because women work outside, they dress differently than before, and they go to pubs, so they commit sex crimes. Who are these men? Abstract theories are of no use.
Many commit crimes because they think they can get away with crimes. Crimes are less when they are fear of punishment.
When there is demand for severe punishment some say they want certainty of punishment than severity as if certainty and severity are mutually exclusive. Punishment should be certain and severe proportionate to the crime. What is the use of certainty if a woman judge finds a man guilty of rape and sentences him to imprisonment till the rising of the court?