At times, a common man is compelled to think whether India has got too much of democracy. Whatever is happening across the nation can be anything but democracy. The democracy is fast turning into ‘mobocracy’ all over. In pursuit of fulfillment of demands, violence seems to be the only and last recourse. Be it Jat reservation in Haryana or Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the agitating people generally take to streets and their anger end in destruction and devastation of public property.
So long the agitations encompassed the issues between warring parties and the governments but now these have taken alarming proportions. The people are taking to streets over the judgments pronounced by courts. It is a serious and sinister development that can take toll of the Indian judicial system, which is regarded and acknowledged the world over. Instead of adopting appellant mechanism, a well established judicial process in civilized and democratic nations, the aggrieved parties cross the red-line and openly criticize the court verdicts.
The latest ‘mayhem’ over the Supreme Court verdict on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, is a warning bell. It is perhaps the first verdict that took India by storm. The violence has so far claimed nine lives and several states continue to remain shaky on law and order front. What could have been fought in the appellant bench through review petition as preferred to be decided on the streets. Unfortunately, the ire was against the Supreme Court, which pronounced the verdict. The democratically elected government had nothing to do with the court pronouncement, as it had not been made a party. Though the Centre made clear to move the apex court through a review petition, politics crept in and took the heavy toll.
The Dalit agitation may be first of its kind against the court verdict on national level but earlier also the Supreme Court judgment on Afzal Guru came under contemptuous public scrutiny in Kashmir and Jawahar Lal Nehru University, which reverberated with ‘Bharat Tere Tukde Honge Inshallah Inshallah’.
The scrutiny of the court verdicts may or may not fall under the category of contempt but can the judicial processes be undermined. Doing so is a most dangerous trend that will deprive the nation of the judicial system that has withstood test of times.
Unfortunately, the trend of interpreting the judicial pronouncements as per convenience is alarmingly gaining momentum across the country. The nation has not forgotten how Afzal Guru’s hanging was viewed by people differently. In Kashmir, the entire mainstream class and separatists raised questions. The same people hailed the acquittal of co-accused S. A.R Geelani, who was initially projected as one of the mastermind in the Parliament attack case. They also ignored reduction in the sentence of Shaukat Guru to ten years imprisonment from the capital punishment while his wife walked out the jail as a free bird. However, the same lot attributed the death penalty to Guru was to his belonging to a particular community. Strangely, these very people saw a silver lining in the judgment of an army court,
convicting some officers and jawans in Machil Fake Encounter Case. While the leaders like Mustafa Kamal, poured venom over judicial process after the Guru hanging, his elder brother and former Chief Minister recently welcomed the Supreme Court decision on Article 370. Had the observations of the court been contrary to their expectations, entire Indian system would have been painted dark. Who knows the Kashmir to have turned into a battle pitch, had the Supreme Court observed otherwise. The nation has seen entire Kashmir mainstream block coming together in-spite of their divergent political ideologies when the courts showed inclination to review Article 35A of the Constitution of India, as it is arguably detrimental to the interests of State subject girls marrying outside the State or the country. Last year, the Valley witnessed several spells of shut down over, what they called, ‘dilution of State subject laws’. These are the attempts to put pressure on courts to ignore merits of particular cases.
Similarly, the hanging of Yaqub Menon, in the wake of transparent and fair judicial process was described as ‘murder of justice’ by Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations and eminent personalities. All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi had gone a step further by saying that Memon was being hanged only because he belonged to a particular religion. Isn’t it an open criticism of the courts, which amounts to contempt?
Those who put the Indian judicial system in dock on adverse court verdicts, shamelessly hail these very courts when terrorists are released. This is sheer hypocrisy.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper