Has the judiciary been a let-down?
A former Chief Minister of Karnataka sparked off a controversy in the 1990s by comparing the country’s legislative, executive, judiciary and the fourth estate to four pall-bearers of India’s democracy.
Many would have disagreed with the cynicism the comments displayed, especially regarding the judiciary.
An activist judiciary in the 90s was seen as the moving force behind a range of public-service initiatives.
The legal system, seen by many as the last line of defence against a corrupt system, has recently attracted adverse attention for its perceived failures.
In the Aarushi murder case, the country’s premier investigating agency, under the tenure of three successive CBI directors couldn’t nail anyone for lack of evidence.
That the legal system delivers, under public pressure, like in the Jessica Lall case, leads to frequent outpouring of faith in the judiciary, especially in TV studios and even inspired a Bollywood film.
But all the scrutiny and activism made little difference to the outcome in Sen’s case.
The fate of the huge numbers at the receiving end of the creaking justice system, who are not famous/infamous as some others, is moot.
Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, a lawyer himself, was reported as advising an appeal in Binayak Sen’s case.
There is a broad understanding that the higher courts have preserved some of the dignity and faith vested by the people in the judiciary.
This has been questioned from within the legal ranks
And the names of at least two former Chief Justices have figured in connection with their kith and kin having amassed ‘disproportionate’ wealth.
The case of former Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan’s son-in-law has led to calls for him to resign from the NHRC he currently heads.
To be fair, the executive is caught up in various scams, the legislature is stalled, and the media hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory in the wake of the Radia tapes.
Which wing do you think has been the biggest disappointment? Share your views.