Sunday, January 14, 2018

An ex-CM commits suicide in 2016, alleging corruption in the high judiciary - no probe. A senior judge in a sensitive case involving a political heavyweight dies a mysterious death. His family thinks it might be murder & India's pliant media covers it up. What Does the SC Judges’ protest mean for this situation?

NB: Between 1939 and 1941, some 100,000 German men, women and children (prisoners, mental cases, alcoholics), were killed by a group of German doctors under the direction of Dr Werner Heyde, neurologist, at the University of Wurzburg. The means used were lethal injections, poison gas and starvation. Some of the doctors had written false death certificates and co-operated with the authorities to keep the actions a secret. These persons were tried in 1960 in a Hamburg court, and acquitted on grounds of being unaware of the illegality of their actions. One of their elder colleagues had this to say of them: 'It is true they have a head but its too close to their arse, because they have no backbone': Paraphrased from J P Stern, The Fuhrer and the People, 1992; p 192. 

Fortunately some of our senior judges have shown exemplary courage. They deserve our thanks - DS

NB: The public protest of four senior SC judges is unprecedented and marks the most massive crisis in Indian justice since the Emergency. The criticisms being levelled at the judges are ironical. One op-ed writer says they have crossed the line. How would he describe a situation wherein the CJI insists on hearing a case allegedly involving himself; refusing an applicant the right to speak his arguments, and moreover, permitting the advent of sympathetic lawyers into the court to shout at applicants? When the CJI reiterates that he is master of roster, accuses applicants of forum shopping; and then uses that to indulge in what appears to be bench fixing, who exactly is crossing the line here? Read more about the events of November 10, 2017 here

When the mysterious death of a judge in a case with grievous political implications is not assigned to any of the senior judges, and sought to be hushed up, who is crossing the line? A former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court has asked for this to be investigated, yet the bulk of our media and commentators refuse to pursue the matter - what line is being crossed and by whom? 

The biggest scandal that has been quietly buried both by the Government and the pliant media, is that of the suicide note left by Kalikho Pul, ex-Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh in 2016. 

Pul alleged that brokers approached him in the run up to the Supreme Court’s July 2016 verdict (on the viability of his government) demanding large sums of money in order to ensure the judgment went in his favour. The latest version of the note implicates politicians from both Congress and BJP in rampant corruption. Page 23 refers to relations of SC judges asking for large sums of money to secure favourable verdicts. The BJP government proclaims its commitment to fight corruption from the rooftops - why is it refusing to probe these extremely serious allegations? Why is the suicide note not being treated as a dying declaration? Why is  the press silent?

One prominent journalist writes: 'whatever the system’s flaws, it is better than having the politicians mess with it.' Were they not messing with it a long time ago? What did it mean when the elevation of Gopal Subramaniam was 'borked' by Mr Modi's government immediately upon coming to power? Another says the protest will make it easier for the government to manage the judiciary. What was happening before the press conference? Was not the government meddling with justice? Why was the judge dealing with the 2006 fake encounter cases in Gujarat transferred when he pulled up Amit Shah for non-appearance? Here are a few examples of what the governments actions in the first weeks of coming to power in 2014. Why do we hear nothing about the Vyapam case in Madhya Pradesh where over 40 possible witnesses have died since 2013? Why the silence regarding reports linking the Sangh Parivar to Vyapam? Who threatened the retired judge Jyotsna Yagnik? Did not the Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon blast case Rohini Salian, protest the Government meddling that obliged her to resign? The move to get the SC to hear the case on Loya's death is seen by some as a means to get it out of the Bombay HC. If this is the case, is this not a grave misuse of authority? 

Messrs respected op-ed writers, what is is all this if not blatant messing with the criminal justice system? Why are most of you trying to pull the wool over our eyes? DS

Here are some recent comments. I shall add new comments when they appear:
Harpreet Singh Giani  Caesar’s wife, it was said must be above suspicion
Watch: What Does the SC Judges’ Statement Mean for the Judge Loya Case?

Loya Case the Tipping Point, Four SC Judges Say Democracy Is in Danger
‘Black Day for Judiciary’: Legal Fraternity on Unprecedented Move by Four SC Judges

See also
Ajmer blast case: Two including a former RSS worker get life imprisonment

Very short list of examples of rule of law in India
The law of killing - a brief history of Indian fascism