The heading of this letter is obviously motivated by the recent conviction of a political party leader- V S Jayarajan- in a contempt of court case. What makes it another stab on the back of justice is the fact that what Jayarajan said is more, nay, factually, true viewed in the context of his saying it. It is more than a decade since the High Court of Kerala and the apex court had held bandhs illegal.*1 But the same activity had been perpetrated without fail and at regular intervals on the hapless citizens of this state and not a single law-breaker has been brought before law till date! And why? Because those who imposed such atrocities on the masses have been using the term hartal instead of bandh, though in substance there is absolutely no difference! Under such circumstances to ban even public meetings on road sides is ridiculous if not idiotic. And Jayarajan had said just that in different words. That is instead of saying that the decision is idiotic he had said that the judge who issued such an order is a ‘sumban‘ (Malayalam for a dimwit, a lighter term than an idiot)! But what did the ‘most honourable‘ judges do? Actually abused Jayarajan by calling him a vermin and a worm! Can there be anything more abominable, deplorable and condemnable than this? Hang me if you will, but I must state that the judiciary is fast driving this country to anarchy!
It may be interesting to take a detour and find out what happened to the court orders holding bandhs illegal. I, for one, was driven to seek copies of the court orders to find out if the courts had banned the term bandh or the activity bandh. And horror of horrors, the home ministry, who was expected to enforce the orders and whom I approached did not have copies of the orders! They palmed off the application to the Law Ministry who sent it to the High Court of Kerala! And the Public Information Officer, High Court of Kerala, through their letter No PIO/240/2013 dated 3/7/2013 informed me that
'Rule 12 of the Kerala High Court (Right to Information) Rules, 2006 forbids the entertaining of applications seeking information or document related to judicial proceeding. Hence the information sought in the application cannot be provided, being exempted from disclosure under Rule 12 of the Kerala High Court (Right to Information) Rules, 2006'.
My previous experiences with the judiciary forbid me from pursuing it further. It is pertinent to place on record the fact that it is only the judiciary that is charging fees for even the 1st appeal under the RTI Act when actually it is only an additional opportunity being given to the public authority by the citizen(s) seeking information to correct any deficiencies/defects in the performance of its PIO! (If this does not reveal the sense of injustice of our judges, then I am bound to ask what will? For the uninitiated in the area of the sunshine act, it is the Chief Justices of the high courts and Supreme Court who are competent authorities to frame the rules to enforce the RTI Act!)
Ever since I had to withdraw my application (or whatever other terms the legal experts my like to use) for a court of wards permission, due to the preposterous conduct of the judge, I had been a keen observer of judicial performance for the last one and half decades. (For my first brush with judiciary, at the court of wards, and more, please read my blog ‘ Access to Justice-A Stake holder’s Report ‘ at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.in/2012/02/access-to-justice-stake-holders-report.html) And the reports, court/quasi judicial orders that I read everyday indicates that atleast in our country the judiciary is the greatest threat to justice and ultimately, law and order! And mine is not an isolated observation. The National Commission to review the working of the Constitution- a judiciary-headed, judiciary-heavy body constituted during the previous NDA government- has stated unambiguously that 'Judicial system has not been able to meet even the modest expectations of the society. Its delays and costs are frustrating, its processes slow and uncertain. People are pushed to seek recourse to extra-legal methods for relief. Trial system both on the civil and criminal side has utterly broken down.' Also, 'Thus we have arrived at a situation in the judicial administration where courts are deemed to exist for judges and lawyers and not for the public seeking justice'. (‘ Report of the NCRWC- a Citizens Review‘ is available at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.in/2011/03/report-of-ncrwc-citizens-review.html). To keep this letter short I shall not reproduce some equally important and interesting quotes about our judiciary but invite your attention to my blog ‘ Indian judiciary-who said what‘ at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.in/2011/05/indian-judiciary-who-said-what.html.
This is not my first communication on the subject of subversion of justice by the judiciary. As early as on 18 Nov 2004 I had writen to the Chief Justice of Kerala on ‘ Reforming our Justice Delivery System‘.This letter is posted at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.in/2011/02/reforming-our-justice-delivery-system.html. I had even staged a one-man satyagraha in front of the Kerala High Court thereafter with just one question begging answer: who will judge the judges?
Before I conclude, may I ask why the apex court is sitting on the Judges‘ assets case of Subhash Agarwal even when almost all the judges have declared their assets voluntarily?
Did the apex court pursue the crimes of anti-sikh riots of 1984 as it did the post Godhra riots of 2002? Why is Sahara Chief behind bars for claiming inability to refund Rs 25000 Cr to its customers along with 12 pc interest when the public servants, who denied a legitimate due in the nature of rank pay to the officers of the armed forces since 1986, have not been prosecuted at all? And why no interest on the dues from 1986 to 2006 and only 6 pc interest since 2006? And just look at the brazenness of a Director of the Department of Personnel and Training signing off an Office Memorandum (Reference F.10/2.2008-IR dated 24 Sep 2010) directing public authorities not to comply with Sec 6(3) of the Right to Information Act!*2 Why is former scientist of ISRO, Nambi Narayanan, still running after courts for the compensation of just Rs 1 Cr he has claimed for the torture he had undergone after being framed in a false case till being acquitted after an even more torturous trial and series of appeals? And how was P B Sawant awarded a compensation of Rs 100 Cr, almost in a jiffy, for just feeling that the apology tendered by a video news channel and its talk show host, for inadvertently telecasting his photo for a few seconds, was not sincere?
Well, even before the Right to Information Act came into force, a simple analysis from first principles had indicted the judiciary to be worst organ of the Constitution.*3 But even before I did such an analysis I had heard wiser ones quipping ‘it is a blessing to pass through this life without entering a police station or a court‘! And that says a lot more than what our judiciary would love to believe about its honour and reputation, doesn’t it?
(P M Ravindran)
*1 Note: In 1997, K G Balakrishnan was part of the Kerala High Court Bench which gave the landmark anti-bandh judgment. It had said, "No political party or organisation can claim that it is entitled to paralyse industry and commerce in the entire state or nation and is entitled to prevent the citizens not in sympathy with its viewpoint from exercising their fundamental right or from performing their duties for their own benefits or for the benefit of the state or the nation." The judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court, setting the stage for similar rulings from other HCs. But on Tuesday, 3 Feb 2009, a bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the same K G Balakrishnan, then the Chief Justice, with P Sathasivam and J M Panchal as members, termed bandhs as legitimate means of expressing people's feelings in a democracy and refused to ban the Chennai bandh called for Wednesday, 4 Feb 2009, to protest against the killings of civilians in Sri Lanka's military campaign against LTTE! It had said "What has this court to do with stopping strikes? India is a democratic state where everyone has a right to express their feelings"!
*2 Note: The contents of the illegal OM are reproduced here for ready reference.
The undersigned is directed to refer to this Department's OM of even number dated 12 Jun 2008 on the above noted subject, clause (iii) of para 3 of which provides that if a person makes an application to a public authority for information, a part of which is available with that public authority and the rest of the information is scattered with more than one other public authorities, the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the public authority receiving the application should give information relating to it and advise the applicant to make separate applications to the concerned public authorities for obtaining information from them. It further provided that if no part of the information is available with the public authority receiving the application but scattered with more than one other public authorities, the PIO should inform the applicant that information is not available with the public authority and that the applicant should make separate application to the concerned public authority for obtaining information from them.
2. The matter has been examined in consultation with the Chief Information Commissioner, Central Inforamtion Commission and it has been decided to advise the PIOs that if details of public authorities who may have this information sought by the applicant are available with the PIO, such details may also be provided to the applicant.
3. Contents of this OM may be brought to the notice of all concerned.
(K G Verma)
Tele: 2309 2158
On trying to check the veracity of the claim at para 2 the facts that emerged are even more atrocious. There are no records either with the Chief Information Commissioner nor with the DoPT to substantiate that such consultations had taken place!
*3 Note: Amoung the three organs of our Constitution the law-makers are controlled by the people, bureaucracy (yes, bureaucracy, because without the active support of the bureaucracy no politician can do any wrong!) and finally the judiciary; the law-enforcers are also controlled by the law-makers and the judiciary. And then there are the ears and eyes of the people- the media- waiting to sensationalise every news involving the misdemeanour of these authorities. Inspite of such strict supervision and control all that we can hear these days are about politician-bureaucrat-underworld nexus even though the fact remains that none, worth the name, from this unholy nexus have ever been punished by the holier-than-thou judiciary.
So now think how bad a system can be which is not only NOT subject to supervision but also kept beyond critical observation. Well isn’t our judiciary just that? And do I need to recapitulate that quip: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?