In a session titled ‘Making India Work’ as part of The Hindu Lit For Life , 2019, on January 12, eminent journalist and political commentator Arun Shourie had a conversation with N. Ravi, former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu.
Mr. Ravi initiated a discussion on Mr. Shourie's book Anita Gets Bail , in which the latter narrated the travails of his wife Anita being prosecuted for an alleged environmental law provision.
Reading from the book, Mr. Shourie took a dig at certain judgments of the Supreme Court. “While judges may be compassionate or nice, the system as a whole has become completely heartless,” he said.
Referring to the DA (disproportionate assets) case against former Tamil Nadu Chief Mnister Jayalalithaa, he said: “Between the conclusion of arguments [at the Supreme Court] and the delivery of judgement, seven months had passed and Jayalalithaa had died. How do you see the role of the SC and High Court?
“When the case moves to the higher court, then discussions come up on who the expert will be, how he will be selected. Every matter will be sent to appeal and the advocate general for Karnataka said that by the end he could write a book on the law of adjournments. After the examination, the Karnataka High Court judge gave an absolutely shameless judgment.”
On the Rafale fighter jet deal controversy, Mr. Shourie questioned the government’s refusal to disclose the price. He recalled that in the past prices had been stated in Parliament, for instance with regard to the Mirage deal. He termed a “betrayal of the requirements of national security” the way in which the Supreme Court handled the case.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he remarked, “What I initially saw as harmless errors should have been recognised as traits, which I came to realise later.”
Answering a question about the present-day tussle between tradition and women’s rights, he said: “We must not recognise any personal law of any religion at all. They should all be done away with.”
On the Sabarimala row, he said: “Women’s solution is to [force an entry into] the temple, whereas, my solution is: ‘I will never go there’.”
Mr. Shourie concluded the session by calling upon people to study judgments and comment on them in an academic way. “This is the way to ensure accountability,” he said.