Letters

Letters to the Editor — July 24, 2021

Parallel system

The observations of the Supreme Court while cancelling the bail granted to a BSP MLA’s husband that there cannot be two parallel systems of justice is a significant statement. In 1959, when E.M.S. Namboodiripad made a similar observation, stating that the courts are instinctively with the rich, he was surprisingly convicted for contempt even though he was only making a class evaluation of the judicial system.

Later, P. Shiv Shankar, then Union Law Minister, said the Supreme Court, composed of the elements of the elite class, had its unconcealed sympathy for the haves, and that the Constitution had to be amended to remove this oligarchic approach. He also said that anti-social elements had benefited from the Court’s judgments. This resulted in the initiation of contempt proceedings against him. Later, he was said to have only examined the class composition of the Court and exonerated.

A reading of Justice Chinnappa Reddy’s judgment in the equal pay for equal work case involving the Delhi police drivers’ case gives the impression that courts should be a little more concerned about the rights of the millions than to discriminatory laws against tax evaders, smuggler kings and robber barons. Over a period of years, this has been the approach of the Supreme Court and Justice Chandrachud has rightly described it as a parallel justice system.

There cannot be two opinions that our Constitution is a people’s Constitution and, therefore, the Supreme Court collegium should appoint judges not merely on terms of their constitutional qualifications but on their constitutional values also. The time has certainly come for a supersession of ideas on the question of appointment of judges.

N.G.R. Prasad,

Chennai

I-T raids

The income-tax raids on the premises of the Dainik Bhaskar media group are clear attempts to throttle democracy (Page 1, July 23). Even the die-hard supporters of the government of the day must have felt that such selective raids are eroding the credibility of the law enforcing agencies. It is an undeniable fact that those who are supporting the Government have never been subjected to such raids and harassment.

C.G. Kuriakose,

Malippara, Kothamangalam, Kerala

House in disorder

Are our Members of Parliament bent on wasting precious time and energy instead of holding useful discussion and debate during parliamentary sessions?

The citadel of democracy is paralysed as soon as the MPs assemble and the Speaker suspends the House. What a pity! There should be a provision to punish such activities. The taxpayer’s money should not be wasted.

A. Balagangadharan,

Pollachi, Tamil Nadu

The all-party meeting was fixed to set sane rules for meaningful discussions. If, from day one, there is going to be mud slinging and walkouts, why have a session? Our parliamentary sessions are beginning to look more like a battlefield. If parliamentarians have only this aggressive behaviour to showcase, where is the country heading?

R. Gopal,

Chennai

Thank you, your Lordships

The only subject where domain expertise is not necessary is ‘bureaucratic bashing’. Anyone can ascend on to any platform and rail against the ’babus’. Not for them the untold stories of a number of civil servants whose services to the country can be written about, if not in letters of gold, at least in indelible ink. The country can be legitimately proud of backroom stalwarts such as Sir B.N. Rau who drafted the Constitution and V.P. Menon who crafted the integration of States.

So, it is with a sense of humility and satisfaction that I welcome the recent observations of the Supreme Court bench of Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Hemant Gupta. To quote: “The legislature, executive and judiciary, all have their own broad spheres of operation. It is not proper for any of these three organs of the state to encroach upon the domain of the other, otherwise the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset and there will also be a reaction....’ The learned Judges also adversely commented on the practice of higher courts summoning government officials for their personal appearance.

I would like to recall an instance where the top official of Rajasthan was summoned by the High Court. He had health problems and requested exemption, which was denied. On the date of hearing, the sight of the officer in a wheelchair in the premises of the court resulted in curiosity and consternation. With the wheelchair having hit the headlines, the issue of a personal appearance lost its news value.

I had two divergent experiences. In one, I reached the High Court on time; the judge saw me, there was a nod of recognition and a hint of surprise on his face as to why I was there. I sat till the court proceedings were over. I was not called to depose or answer any questions. At the end there was again a nod and a smile, almost to say ‘thank you’. Should I say my half-a-day was wasted or preferably, I keep on learning?

In the other experience, it was as well that I was in the High Court. The matter related to some decisions I had taken in my official capacity almost a decade ago. After a lapse of time, a contempt petition came up.

When I found that the argument of the Government Counsel was falling flat on the judge, I sought the permission of the court to present my case. It was granted. After almost an hour, I closed my submission. The judge dictated his decision on the spot. Before that he gave some advice to the Government Counsel, and complimented me by saying that I had missed my profession, awarded me damages of a princely sum of ₹100 and purged me of any misdemeanour towards the Court.

What emerges is that many cases are lost by governments, both States and Union, by inadequate presentation in the court. High-profile cases before the Supreme Court of India or the High Court grab attention. In many mofussil courts which account for a large number of cases, governments lose due to weakness in advocacy on the government side and there is also a consequent loss to the public exchequer.

This situation needs being addressed before it gains unmanageable proportions.

V.I. Rajagopal,

Jaipur


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