Context: Recently questions have been raised on functioning of judiciary that it is slipping into “judicial barbarism”.
What are the recent charges made against the judiciary?
- Electoral bonds case: The court has refused to do timely hearings of cases that go to the heart of the institutional integrity of a democracy.
- Elgar Parishad case: The Supreme Court has been blamed for denying bail to Sudha Bharadwaj and Anand Teltumbde, who has been detained in the Bhima Koregaon case that is being probed by the National Investigation Agency.
- Promoting Love Jihad: judiciary was blamed in legitimising this newest assault on liberty.
- Arnab Goswami case: Where the Chief Justice of India was blamed for quick hearing of Arnab’s case when other significant constitutional cases are pending for hearing before the court.
Why the charges laid against judiciary are not true?
- Judiciary has effectively Protected Individuals Liberty: In the Prashant Bhushan case and the case of journalist Vinod Dua. After criticising government, these individuals got an early and effective hearing and also relief from the court.
- Judiciary has effectively Protected the Freedom from arrest: In 2018, Teltumbde was granted interim protection from arrest by the Bombay High Court. These are reflective of the fact that the Supreme Court has always come to the rescue of citizens.
- Judiciary has effectively Protected right to privacy: Historic verdicts by the SC such as nine judges held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right and it held that the CJI is a public authority under the RTI Act.
- Judiciary has always Ensured justice: For example, Umar Khalid though a student he has been probed for his role in the Delhi riots for allegedly trying to incite violence during the Delhi riots, which cost more than 50 lives.
- Judiciary has effectively Protected individuals freedom and choice: The Supreme Court in Shafin Jahan v. Ashokan K M (Hadiya case) observed that Hadiya, being a 24-year-old adult, had the power to make her own decisions, and the court could not compel her to go to her father or husband against her will.
- Judiciary has effectively Protected individuals from malafide prosecution: Arnab goswami case prima facie appears to be a case of malafide prosecution. The Supreme Court rightly remarked that the accused should pursue his remedy before the high court.
The criticism of the judiciary stems not from facts or evidence but from ideological inclination and dislike of particular political leaders.