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Are shoes thrown at judges contempt for the judiciary?

On Wednesday an accused under trial, who had been told to remove his footwear outside the court, threw a shoe at the judge who denied him bail. The accused had been jailed for a bailable offence and had been behind bars for over a year. This is the third case of airborne footwear in the City Civil and Sessions Court in the last four months, and it has caused former judges to comment on the frustrations of citizens with delays in court processes and loss of faith in the judiciary.

Justice V.G. Palshikar, who retired in January 2007 from the Bombay High Court (BHC), said, “These incidents are happening because the accused is frustrated with the long pendency of a trial.” He added that such incidents not only defame the judiciary, they also undermine it as they can dent the judiciary’s image. “Irrespective to the punishment you give thereafter, it’s of no use.”

Another retired BHC judge, Justice A.R. Joshi (who had acquitted actor Salman Khan in the hit-and-run case), said, “The accused persons are losing hope that they will get something from the courts and are also becoming more bold and arrogant in the belief that the courts cannot do anything, so they can do anything they want. These incidents are rooted in frustration and anger.”

Justice (Retired) P.D. Kode, of the BHC, who had adjudicated over with the 1993 bomb blasts verdict, said, “This has happened many times before. It happens because of frustration.” But, he added, “Aggrieved people can go in appeal to a higher court. When you have a remedy of appeal and you react in this manner, you feel you are above the law and this is not proper in a democracy. It is a reaction of the man who thinks he is above the law. We should condemn such activities.”

Another retired BHC judge, who didn’t want to be named, said that these incidents do not reflect on the judiciary: “These things are not happening everyday. There are some insane people, it’s not a general behaviour in society and it does not reflect the general mood.” He pointed out that in the assembly, in municipal corporations, elected representatives threw chappals at each other. “These things do not undermine the image of the judiciary at all. The judiciary is strong enough and nothing will happen to it.”


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 1:17:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/are-shoes-thrown-at-judges-contempt-for-the-judiciary/article8653087.ece

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