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
AN OPEN LETTER
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 http://raviforjustice.blogspot.com.
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.
(P M Ravindran)