When the socio-political climate of the country has completely vitiated can we expect anything from the courts ? There are many who are ‘moaning’ as if India has become a Hindu Rashtra. Fact is it was always a Hindu Rashtra with a secular ‘Odhini’ but now that cover has completely got exposed.
The question is not between this party or this party, court or media, the thing is that India’s ruling castes decide what is good and what is bad for its health. Long back, they decided that ‘secularism’ was good for their health and hence for India too without including people. Now, they have realised that the small mercies that they have given to the marginalised are now threatening them hence they have revolted with a vengeance.
The institutions in India were rarely progressive particularly courts. I wrote many time, that if you read any judgement of the court, you will come out with different conclusions, depending which side of the thoughts you are but the fact is that Courts in India have not resisted the pressure of the powerful leaders and governments. Courts could not stop the tyranny of the governments and autocratic rulers. Most of the time, they believe in the government provided narratives.
Coalition era has been the best for Indian judiciary in terms of defending the rights of the people. Right now, it is time for the government to frame all those who disagree with it and judiciary has not really acted that strongly as it is expected off. Thus human rights defenders remain the most vulnerable and people like Prof Saibaba and Sudha Bhardwaj languish in the jail without much legal support. They are still big people compare to lesser known souls who the police beat up and administration harass at the daily basis for raising people’s issues.
Whether it is Ayodhya verdict or Rafael deal or the issue of Karnataka legislature, triple talaq, reservation, forest bills, JNU incidents, the top court disappointed. I would have respected the Ayodhya verdict much more, if they had categorically said that make a full stop here, no more petitions elsewhere, no more threatening of Minorities and no more digging of existing structures. Terming the demolition of Babari Masjid illegal is a very soft language towards the criminals and then not commenting on those who demolished it and their cases. When the Supreme Court can club issues of all religion together just to protect itself from criticism on Sabarimala, why cant it take up all the issues related to Babari Masjid, including its demolition as well as the engineered riots after that. It could have made a general comment and asked for strong action but in the name of ‘technicality’ the honorable judges confined themselves to the ‘issue’ but in Sabarimala, they are ready to include all other ‘religions’.
We have seen the how the apex court found not time to the vital issue of Kashmir. The arrest of Farookh Abdullah, former chief minister and former Union Minister and the continuous lies of the agencies who did it could not get any reprimand from the court. The court heard Ayodhya issue for 40 days which was good also but Kashmir issue too needed a patience hearing.
We dont need to disappoint. Court will act the way they do. There will be some judges who will be more passionate about people’s right like justice Krishna Iyer, Justice Venkatchallaiah, Justice H R Khanna, Justice Tarkunde, Justice Rajinder Sachar, AP Shah and many more while there will be others who will have other concern. The main thing is the political climate and it has got sanctity of the people yet we will have to struggle and fight as there is no other way.
These are tough times and they need our conscious efforts. The growth of right wing and its legitimacy among masses is an international phenomena and will need wider efforts and understanding. As political parties in India particularly its largest in the opposition is in search of its Hindutva wings, only social movements, politically active non political groups, intellectuals will have to put pressure on them to act, work together and protect India’s constitution and its secular fabric.