Friday, 24 August 2012

Judicial freedom vs citizen's rights- an open letter to the CJI

I am among those who believe that the worst things that happened to this country after 15 Aug 1947 are Jawaharlal Nehru, his family party and the judiciary. While democracy by definition implies the pre-eminence of citizens, the various public servants tasked to perform certain functions in the nature of service to the public have abrogated this and assigned to themselves the roles of constitutional, statutory and what have you authorities and have been taking the citizens for a ride. Of particular concern is the failure of our law makers to make the judiciary accountable by legislating the much needed laws and the even worse are the efforts of the judiciary to resist the feeble efforts by crying wolf. The proposed Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill does not meet even a negligible fraction of the requirement but even then the Chief Justice of India has started crying foul and as usual an unwarranted peace seems to have been brokered with the PM stating that concerns of the judiciary will be taken into account. It is also shocking that even while crossing swords with the law makers the judiciary itself has not moved even a little finger to streamline their functions to ensure that justice is delivered meaningfully in a time bound manner. I must place it on record here that it is not merely a matter of bringing in a law mandating that every case should be disposed of within a certain specified period. The Consumer Protection Act does have such a provision but the President of a District Forum, holding sitting for less than one hour per day, listing just 10 to 12 complaints per day of which most are adjourned and disposing on an average just one complaint per day has the audacity to claim that this clause is only a guideline and not binding! 

Under the circumstances, it has become essential for citizens to exert their supremacy in unequivocal terms and public servants are made aware of their role as service providers to the citizens. My letter to the CJI, reproduced below is a deliberate effort to this end. 

File: Pers/cji-240812                                                                    24 Aug 2012

Mr S H Kapadia
Chief Justice, Supreme Court
New Delhi
Mr Kapadia

Permit me to introduce myself as an activist in the field of governance with special focus on judiciary. Going by my experience, observations and study, especially during the last 14 years, I am convinced that the worst things that happened to this country since 15 Aug 1947 are: Jawaharlal Nehru, his family party and the judiciary.

Nehru has institutionalised decay through the Constitution. Just look at it: the law makers need NOT have any qualifications, except a certain age and some money (need not even be theirs!) to fight the elections, the babus who are mandatory to help the law makers have to be expert manipulators (the only qualification necessary for them is the art of making summaries of cases and/or answering a few questions about such cases, something which is learnt in 5th standard by those who have been to school. But these are the people, who by virtue of being in a position of presenting the facts to the law makers are also in a position of distorting them to the advantage of those who will grease their palms!) and it is these very babus who have been given the responsibility of administration at the lower levels! The third organ of the constitution-the judiciary- implicitly has some advantages in being corrupt with impunity. There are always two sides to every case coming up before the judge and on every side there are some facts, some laws and some precedences; so automatically justice delivery becomes a mattter of discretion of the judge. And there is no denying that this discretion can easily be made an object of sale (the most authentic breeding  ground for corruption!) and there is no way even obviously indiscreet judgements can be questioned! (Just look at how a CJI declared that his office is out of purview of the RTI Act!) To make matters worse, contempt of court provisions in the constitution and subsequent legislations have ensured that the judiciary has become a cesspool of corruption which cannot even be challenged. The only people who will be entertained there are those who have money to throw around or who are in a position to arm-twist the judges by whatever other means at thier disposal. In any case there is no institution that treats the citizens so shabbily as the judiciary.

I will deem it presumptuous to give examples to prove the above convictions. But in case you need them you are invited to view my blogs at

I have stated that this is an open letter, not so much because it will be splashed all over the media. It is only an indication that it will be sent to the media people also but I doubt if anyone will dare to publish it for fear of ...contempt of court! But I maintain that the word democracy itself  implies the pre-eminence of citizens and officially we have it on record in the report of the National Commission to Review the working of the Constitution that ‘the highest office of the land in a democracy is that of the citizen‘.  As such it is not only the right but also the responsibility of the citizens, individually and collectively, to critcise public servants and ensure that the services due from them are delivered promptly and correctly. But unfortunately even here the citizens are handicapped because the truism is  ‘you can take a horse to water but not make it drink‘. I rest my case.

Yours truly,

(P M Ravindran)

Monday, 6 August 2012

How do I abuse the CM of Kerala?

Many states are now tom tomming the introduction of a Right to Service Act. But what has happened to the Right to Information Act- tom tommed as a sunshine act almost 7 years back? The response to an application under the RTI Act has disclosed that the offices of the ministers in Kerala had appointed Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities under the Act only on 10/3/2011- after a delay of more than five and a half years! But that is still far from the worst. In response to another application under the RTI Act, or more precisely in response to a notice from the State Information Commission on a 2nd appeal, the PIO of the current CM's office has stated that the applications and other documents are never transferred to the new incumbent whenever the ministers change! Now here is an e mail I had sent to the CM and the Chief Secretary. 

from:     Ravindran P M
date:     Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM
subject:     How do I abuse the CM of Kerala?

In my younger days I had heard that after every exam the teacher would roll up the answer sheets and throw it up his house's roof and all the student's whose papers did not fall down were declared passed!

Now here comes Oommen Chandy, no less than the Chief Minister of Kerala, whose Public Information officer under the RTI Act has declared the undeclarable- that whenever the minister changes all the documents held with the minister's office is used to make a bon fire (though not in so many words!).

I had submitted an application under the RTI Act to the PIO, CM's office when VS Achuthanandan was the CM of Kerala. Needless to say the issue landed up as a second appeal with the Kerala State Information Commission and got entangled in redtape. Now the Commission has sought explanation from the PIO of the current CM's office and the reply by the PIO is attached. It says that 'the application is seen submitted to the earlier CM's office. When the ministry changes, there is no provision under the present administration system of the Secretariat to transfer the applications and other documents held with them. Hence it is not possible to trace the application claimed to have been submitted by the applicant. So it is not possible to provide any information on it now.'

Yours truly

P M Ravindran
Tel: 0491-2576042