Skip to main content

Sabarimala, Ayodhya: Undermining rule of law principle, apex court 'favoured' executive

By Our Representative
Justice AP Shah, former chief justice of the Delhi and Madras High Courts, has regretted that the start of the Supreme Court’s decline “coincided with the coming to power of the BJP-led NDA government in 2014”, adding, “Every institution, mechanism or tool that is designed to hold the executive accountable is being systematically destroyed.”
Also ex-chairperson of the Law Commission of India, Justice Shah, while delivering Justice Hosbet Suresh memorial lecture on “The Supreme Court in Decline: Forgotten Freedoms and Eroded Rights”, said that the Supreme Court is increasingly becoming partisan, “tilting more towards the executive rather than justice and making the executive accountable through constitutional mechanisms and institutions.”
Justice Shah’s virtual lecture on Zoom was collectively organized by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Bohra Youth Sansthan, Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community, Citizens for Justice and Peace, Institute for Islamic Studies, Peoples’ Watch and the Majlis Law Centre.
According to Justice Shah, the apex court “has failed to protect rights and counter majoritarianism”, citing cases of Sabarimala and Ayodhya judgments where, he said, these gave “impunity and compromised the principle of rule of law to rule in favour of the government.”
In the Ayodhya judgment, the court, despite acknowledging the illegalities committed by the Hindus in 1949 and 1992, “effectively rewarded the wrongdoer”, he added.
Justice Shah further said that the Supreme Court, instead of dealing with constitutional issues on Kashmir related to Articles 14, 19 and 21 emerging from the internet and communication shutdown, handed these over to the “executive-led Special Review Committee.”
“This has added to the sufferings of the entire population of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in health, education, business and economy”, he added.
Further pointing out that the apex court’s decline also manifested “in its collusion or silence on the issues of freedom of speech and right to protest which is a democratic right”, Justice Shah gave the example of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to point out how the “protestors -- students, academics and poets -- were targeted by the state and charged them with criminal offences of rioting, unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy, sedition and invoked provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Delhi riots case.”
Supreme Court, instead of dealing with constitutional issues on Kashmir related to Articles 14, 19 and 21, handed these over to the executive-led Special Review Committee
“They were labeled as anti-national and accused of destabilizing the government, while the apex court was a mute spectator and found reasons to not address the case”, he added.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who chaired the session, expressed concern over the silence of common citizens when the vulnerable sections like Muslims and Dalits are killed in India, regretting, movements like the Black Lives Matter campaign triggered by the killing of George Floyd in the US have been missing in India for issues of justice and dignity of common citizens, he pointed out. Judiciary in such scenario has a crucial role but the courageous voices of citizens are vital he urged.
Those who spoke on the occasion included Teesta Setalvad, noted social activist, senior advocate Mihir Desai, and Dalit rights leader Henry Tiphagne. Participants included scholars including Uma Chakravarti, Steven Wilkinson and Harbans Mukhia, former vice president Hamid Ansari, top Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, and others.
The Dr Asghar Ali Memorial Achievement Award, 2020 was handed over by Adv Irfan Engineer, director of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, to Rajini Sondur, Shalini Prasad and Malini Kanal, daughters of Justice Suresh. The Award carried cash of INR 25,000 and a citation.
Post retirement, Justice Suresh, along with former Supreme Court justice PB Sawant, was part of the independent fact-finding team on Gujarat riots of 2002, which came up with the well-know report "Crime Against Humanity".

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).