A ray of hope beyond the dark tunnel
M. M Khajooria
The inaugural address of Justice T.S Thakur to the two-day Legal seminar in Jammu the other day came as a whiff of fresh air in the suffocating, stifling and polluted environment that engulfed the country. That the concern for the denial of rights and institutionalised exploitation of the disadvantaged sections of the society and a strong push for restoration of their dignity and the solution of their problems should come from the head of an institution commonly perceived as status quoist and accessible only to the rich and the mighty spelled a revolutionary shift in the very philosophy and practice of the Justice Delivery system in this country. “In the Indian culture the worker is traditionally regarded as “Vishwakarma’.”recalled Justice Thakur and stressed that “The country can not be happy, if the worker is unhappy.” And significantly added “There is a thin line that separated the good of industry and the good of industrialist”. “Similarly” he said “There is a thin line that separates the good of the worker and the good of the labour union , the good of the nation and the good of the government”. The people are listening but are the political class, the government of the day, the Media and intellectually fraternity listening?.They better do.
Justice Thakur’s address brought into public domain number of issues -issues of crucial public concern. Referring to the huge backlog of cases pending with courts , he said “Now in a system where judiciary is working at half strength, people are languishing in jails, people are crying for justice, the chief justice of the High Courts and senior most judges of the High court have considered a person suitable, it has gone through the Chief Minister and the Governor, it has reached the law ministry, it has gone through the scrutiny of the IB, it has come to the Supreme Court collegium and the Chief Justice and other Senior Judges have seen it and removed unwanted and undeserving and sent the only most deserving of the candidates. Why the government should be sitting on the proposal, I can not understand?”.It may be pertinent to note that after three weeks of SC striking down the relevant Constitutional amendment, the Union Law Minister had written to the Chief Justice of India “As there was large number of vacancies to be filled up You continue the process of appointment ( of judges)” Stressing for the need to devise mechanism to deal with such situations, Justice Thakur staetd “The people are informed. I have a feeling that a social audit of the performance the government be done, whether it is the government of Jammu and Kashmir when it comes to the establishment of a Board which took ten years or the government of India, where it has taken time the clear the proposal ( of appointment of Judges of High court). There needs to be awareness but when the intelligentsia or the society respond there is no need for us to enforce.” He is right but what about the political class and the Parliamentarians who were duty bound to take the first call and demand an explanation from the government for the undue, unnecessary and unacceptable delay in clearing the proposal routed through the Supreme court.. Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are currently in session. Let the parliamentarians rise to the occasions, and discharge their primary duty.
Referring to PM Modis’ commitment to repeal a law every single day, , Justice Thakur said “There are some old colonial laws which have no relevance today, you can repeal them by one enactment. But the challenge is not about repealing these laws but the challenge is enforcement of those laws which exit today.” The ball is thus in the court of political executive. The nation will keenly watch how governments in the states and the centre respond and hold them accountable for any negligence or tardiness. The Chief Justice of India also expressed grave concern about the issue of Drug abuse which ” has taken alarming proportions in various parts of the country” and Maoism which had become “a major problem for the country” in the context of denial of basic rights to the tribal societies in number of states that had become hot beds of extremism.
In a country sharply divided into India of the wealthy, privileged and the mighty and Bharat home to the poor, under privileged , exploited and justice deprived ,the chief Justice of the India has expressed his concern for the later in no uncertain terms. This brings hope of succour for vast majority of our suffering masses. Do I see a ray of hope beyond the dark tunnel? May be , just may be our judiciary was transforming and acquiring true and real democratic credentials. May be the Goddess of Justice had finally chosen to cast aside the blindfold so as to be able to see and feel the agony of seekers of justice and also lend her ears to the cries of pain and pleas for justice of the multitude of the poor and downtrodden of the Indian Republic of India.