Judiciary speaks


Chief Justice

Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said booking police officers under various charges after power changes from one party to another party was a “recent trend” but it reflected a “sorry state of affairs” in the country. When police officers are working and take the side of the particular party [in power], then nothing happens. But when another party comes into power and the government changes, the police officer faces such charges. This is a recent trend in the country.”
CJI has warned that the right to change governments through elections “by itself, need not be a guarantee against tyranny”. He underscored that recognising citizens as the ultimate sovereign and qualifying as a “properly functioning democracy” necessitated public discourse that is “both reasoned and reasonable”. To elections and public discourse, he tagged “criticisms and voicing of protests” too as integral to the democratic process. Executive and legislature too must “assume responsibilities of upholding constitutional values and ensuring justice in the first place” so that judiciary can act as an important check later. A counterculture of admiration for populists who betray impatience for democratic niceties and bend chaotic collective will is an ongoing challenge.
Public intellectuals have “a duty to expose the lies of the state”, Supreme Court Justice DY Chandrachud observed, stressing that in a democratic country it is important to hold governments in check and guard against falsehoods.
The SC judge was delivering the 6th Chief Justice M.C. Chagla Memorial Lecture, when he cautioned against an over-reliance on the government to provide social, political, economic, cultural and, in the current context, medical truths.
He also highlighted the importance of a “press that is free from influence of any kind… political or economic” to ensure that governments can truly be held to account for actions and policies”. One cannot rely only on the State for truth.

Justice D Y Chandrachud
Public intellectuals have “a duty to expose the lies of the state”, Supreme Court Justice DY Chandrachud observed, stressing that in a democratic country it is important to hold governments in check and guard against falsehoods.
The SC judge was delivering the 6th Chief Justice M.C. Chagla Memorial Lecture, when he cautioned against an over-reliance on the government to provide social, political, economic, cultural and, in the current context, medical truths. He also highlighted the importance of a “press that is free from influence of any kind… political or economic” to ensure that governments can truly be held to account for actions and policies”. One cannot rely only on the State for truth, he said.

Apex Court
Concerned over the judges getting maligned and threatened for not passing favourable orders in “high-profile cases”, the Supreme Court lamented that Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) “are not helping the judiciary at all.”
“In one or two places, the court ordered a CBI inquiry. I am very sorry to say that the CBI has done nothing in more than one year. At one place, I know, the CBI has done nothing. I think we have expected some changes in CBI’s attitude. But there is no change in the attitude of the CBI. I am sorry to observe this but this is the situation,” the CJI told attorney general KK Venugopal, “There are several cases in the country which involve gangsters and where high-profile people are accused. Judges are threatened mentally also by sending messages on Whatsapp, SMS or on Youtube. This is a new trend in this country. When high-profile people don’t get favourable orders, they start maligning the judges on all forum,” Supreme Court observed.
“Look at this unfortunate case of death of a young judge (in Jharkhand) . You cannot ignore the state’s negligence. This is the state’s failure. This area has coal mafias and security should have been provided to the society and residences of judges. But nothing was done… Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) “are not helping the judiciary at all,” Supreme Court commented. “Don’t keep cases hanging like this. File a chargesheet,” Justice Ramana, heading a three judge bench, said, pointing out that speedy trials were needed to deliver justice to people. “We don’t want to say anything against these agencies because we don’t want to demoralise them. But all this (number of pending cases) speaks volumes,” he added. Vijay Hansaria, assisting the court, remarked that in one case the agency had said that the case was expected to be completed in 2030.
“My God!” – Justice DY Chandrachud exclaimed at this. During a hearing of a case, CJI Ramana further said, “In earlier orders, we have asked the high courts to register suo motu cases and monitor the pending cases against MP/MLAs.” Targeting the ED and other agencies, CJI Ramana said, “This report is very inconclusive. No reason [has been given] for not filing chargesheet or filing anything for 10-15 years. There is one case where you have attached properties worth Rs 200 crore but nothing has been filed till now. Particularly with the ED, nothing is moving.” “Since …cases (which) involve public representatives they can also misuse their position and that is why we had imposed special conditions. We had said in last hearing that these cases cannot be withdrawn without the approval of the High Court,” said CJI Ramana.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said that booking police officers under various charges after power changes from one party to another party was a “recent trend” but it reflected a “sorry state of affairs”. “…When police officers are working and take the side of the particular party [in power], then nothing happens. But when another party comes into power and the government changes, the police officer faces such charges. This is a recent trend in the country.”

Lower Court
A Delhi court pulled up the Delhi Police over lack of proper investigation into the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, while discharging three men accused of rioting, arson and various offences. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, in his order, observed that the police “made no effort” to investigate the case, and were “merely filing chargesheets without any real effort being made to trace out the eye witnesses, real accused persons and technical evidence.” “I am not able to restrain myself from observing that when history looks back at the worst communal riots since partition in Delhi, it is the failure of the investigating agency to conduct proper investigation by using the latest scientific methods, that will surely torment the sentinels of democracy,” he said. He added, “The sort of investigation conducted in the instant case and the lack of supervision thereof by the superior officers clearly depicts that the investigating agency has merely tried to pull the wool over the court’s eyes and nothing else.” “I cannot restrain myself from observing that this case is a colossal wastage of the hard-earned money of tax-payers, without there being any real intent of investigating the matter,” said the judge. No eyewitnesses or CCTV footage were found available to identify the persons involved. In addition, the three persons arrested in the case had not been named in the FIR, and had been arrested in a different case relating to the riots”. Was it on account of some kind of divine intervention or the zeal of the investigation officers to somehow show the case as worked out,” the judge said.
(Times of India 02-07-21, Hindustan Times 07-08-21, NDTV 25-08-21, India Today 25-08-21, 26-08-21, 02-09-21, The Hindu- 29-08-21)

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