Tag: Supreme Court

Mamata Banerjee on corrupt judges

Mamata Banerjee’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.

Khalil Chisti gets bail

On 9/4/2012 Supreme Court granted bail to Khalil Chisti, a man sentenced to life for murder of one person. It had referred to the goodwill generated by Asif Ali Zardari’s visit the previous day and hoped it would continue. The event makes one wonder whether India is governed by rule of law.

It is immaterial that Khalil Chisti is a Pakistani and the victim is an Indian. It is immaterial that Khalil Chisti is 80 years old and not in good health. What is material is that he is convicted of murder and serves life sentence.

Asif Ali Zardari’s visit should not have had any bearing on Khalil Chisti’s case. When did Khalil Chisti apply for bail? Was it before 9/4/2012 or on 9/4/2012? If it was before 9/4/2012 after how many days the court took up the matter? If Zardari visit had gone wrong and both sides had blamed each other what would have been the verdict on bail plea?

Someone said Khalil Chisti had spent 20 years in jail. If he had been convicted within three years he would have been out of jail. The court was aware of his time in jail. Life sentence does not mean a prisoner has to be released after 14 or 20 years.

Judiciary is for judgments as per law. Judicial pronouncements should not be influenced by political events or public relations. The issue of release of Khalil Chisti was discussed in June 2011. PM had written to Shivraj Patil, Governor of Rajasthan, to release Khalil Chisti. Shivraj Patil had sought legal advice and there the matter rested. PM did not seek presidential pardon to Khalil Chisti.

As a rule people serving life sentence are not granted bail. There are life convicts who get parole or spend time in hospital. Khalil Chisti case can be used by them to get bail. Their lawyers will not mention that Khalil Chisti was 80 years old and was in poor health. They will say he was a life convict and got bail by Supreme Court.

Consenting adults and law

There are people who say what consenting adults do in private should not be covered by law. This is mainly in reference to Section 377 of IPC which is under litigation in Supreme Court.

By that logic prostitution, sale and purchase of narcotics and psychotropic substances and illicit liquor, corruption, polygamy, transmission of pornographic material and many others matters that take place between consulting adults will be out of the scope of law. Drug traffickers can claim they have right to life and liberty to sell heroin, marijuana and such things to consenting adults in private and they have right to equality. The state will have no right to legislate on marriage, divorce, alimony and child custody. Also concubinage, live-in relationship and palimony will be out of the legal purview.

What happens if a man who is married does not reveal his marital status and marries another woman? What happens if a woman has sex with a man because he promises her something and later he does not keep his promise?

What about doctors and parents who after sex determination test terminate the pregnancy of a foetus knowing it is female? India’s sex ratio is going down. Medical termination of pregnancy is not a crime. Female foeticide is a crime.

Some blame Thomas Macaulay for everything what they claim is wrong with India including Section 377 of IPC. Thomas Macaulay came to India in 1834 and left India in 1838. IPC was promulgated in 1860.

Some give examples of Khajuraho and Ajanta-Ellora as examples of Indian culture and civilization. It is like saying Jarawa women who do not cover their breasts as representative of all Indian women. Khajuraho and Ajanta-Ellora are exceptions. If what they show is a sample of what is Indian then all temples would have shown them.

A vociferous minority supported by sections of media attacks people who stand for heterosexuality. Those who speak of freedom of speech criticize Ghulam Nabi Azad and Baba Ramdev when they exercise their freedom of speech.

Some wrongly speak of gays and lesbians being married and having children. They are bisexuals. There is nothing hereditary being gay. If someone is gay he would not have had children.

It is not for judges to declare what should be the law. Their job is to deliver judgment as per law. Judges who cross their limits do lot of damage.

It is wrong to call gays and lesbians a minority. Minorities are either ethnic, or religious or linguistic. All types of criminals can claim they are a minority. Terrorists can claim they are a minority doing a noble job but misunderstood by the majority. Bandits can claim they are a minority.

If Supreme Court judges do not know what is sex according to order of nature it is penile vaginal intercourse. Terms like unnatural sex have definite meanings acquired over the years. It is not for judges to change the meanings. It is for legislatures to change the law.

The government of India wants to run with the hare and hunt with the hound. On 23/2/2012 Additional Solicitor General P. P. Malhotra told the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices G. S. Singhvi and J. S. Mukhyopadhyay “The issue whether to retain or not to retain Section 377 IPC was considered by the Law Commission of India in its 42nd report and it observed that Indian society by and large disapproves of homosexuality and disapproval was strong enough to justify it being treated as a criminal offence even when adults indulge in it in private.” About privacy he said “Whose privacy is being disturbed? Nobody’s privacy is being disturbed. Privacy is not an absolute right and is always subject to restriction. It is an offence.” Then home ministry came out with a press release that the government is neutral on the issue. It had asked Attorney General to assist the Supreme Court. May be if Shahi Imam or head of Darul Uloom wants to retain Section 377 as it is the government will take a stand in favour of retention.