Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Janus-faced justice

We have reached an unfortunate state when it is impossible to have faith in judiciary. Dayanidhi Maran is supposed to have misused his ministership to set up 'a telephone exchange' in his house to be of use for Sun TV channel. The alleged shenanigan occurred when he was Telecom Minister during 2004-07. As long as he was in office, the misuse of power, if any, was not noticed and therefore no action was taken.

After 2007, many reports started appearing regarding his alleged misuse of office which amounted to criminal acts also causing loss to the exchequer. After UPA lost power, CBI became active in investigating the alleged criminal offences. A powerless poor person would have been taken into custody straightaway and cases filed in the courts of law (perhaps we should not call them courts of justice). The hapless person could not have sought judicial intervention and he would be rotting in jail.

But Dayanidhi Maran is neither powerless nor poor. So he would be treated differently. The Madras High Court at last decided that CBI could take him into custody to facilitate investigation. But the Supreme Court, as the apex court, does not want individual liberties to be tampered with. For the Supreme Court, the matter is simple: If there had been financial loss to the government, Maran would now pay it up and be done with it. Simple and Solomonic! Can we hope that the apex court will be so conscious of civil liberties in all cases!

Justice Vaidyanathan of the Madras High Court is now reduced to an ignoramus of law. He audaciously referred to his 'judicial conscience'. Following are his words of ignorance:

He said: “My judicial conscience prevented me from enlarging the petitioner on bail.”

“I find that the petitioner [Dayanidhi Maran] has been involved in serious offences, wherein allegations of corruption, cheating and causing wrongful loss to the exchequer of the government to the tune of crores of rupees, have been attributed.”
The judge said: “I find prima facie the exact role of the petitioner being the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, in misusing his office for his wrongful gain by obtaining telephone connections illegally in the name of BSNL officials…”
Earlier the judge found “considerable force” in the Additional Solicitor-General’s contention that when a number of undertrials were languishing in jails even for petty offences, Mr. Maran should not be extended any special concession by enlarging him on bail, as serious allegations of corruption, cheating and causing wrongful loss to the exchequer have been made against him.
It is not clear how a person with 'judicial conscience' was allowed to become a High Court judge. The damage that was sought to be done by Justice Vaidyanathan has been undone by the superior wisdom manifesting as Supreme Court judges.
In the Supreme Court, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for CBI referred to the facts of the case to stress that it was a huge corruption case and said, "Maran used clout in government to fix lines for use of the huge media house Sun TV that his family runs."
Justice Thakur and Justice Gopala Gowda could not tolerate this nonsensical argument. They almost asked, "So what?" In other words, what is wrong if a minister misuses his power? Who are the lesser mortals to question him?
"Is it a matter of prestige for you to arrest him? Nobody should get away after causing public loss. .. but custodial interrogation?. How did you assess the 1-crore loss? You say no bills were raised. Anyway he is willing to pay? You raise the bill now and he will pay up," Justice Thakur thundered. 
Such is the court's concern for civil rights. As long as  we have 'considerate' judges, no harm will come to honest people like Dayanidhi Maran.


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Anonymous said...

When an influential politician like Dayanidhi Maran is desperate to avoid custodial interrogation, it means he has a lot to hide. The supreme court ought to have enquired what was his fear. Instead, they took the easy way out for whatever reasons ---

Anonymous said...

Observations of judges of the supreme court are remarkable. All robbers and crooks can make use of them.

If you rob a bank of lakh and you are caught after a week, don't worry. Ask the police, "Why are you catching me after a week? What were you doing so long? Get lost. I will go to supreme court."

If the cop insists on arresting you, ask them where is the proof that you had stolen. If proof is provided, go to the court and say that another person has stolen more, but the police has not caught him. Why are you singled out?

The honourable court will pat you on the back and pass strictures on the police.

CRAI (Crooks and Robbers Association of India) is organising a thanksgiving function in honour of supreme court.