This has been a year of judicial tragedy for Indian democracy. Or does it look like? Within a year, many celebrity criminals walked free escaping punishment. Court freed a Chief Minister from the clutches of a fund misappropriation case, a famous actor was acquitted of a heinous crime, a rape victim tried in a juvenile court and sent to asylum and now the Cauvery verdict which is not at all fair for our state. From past few days, social media is abuzz with memes, statements and cartoons making fun of Indian Judicial system. Many of my friends on WhatsApp blamed our judiciary for the Cauvery verdict. Some went ahead and accused even the justice bench to be close aides of TN Chief Minister and hence the verdict is pro TN. I agree that the verdict is unfair for Karnataka, but the blasphemy on our judiciary is not just right. For me, there appeared to be a sense of lawlessness among people. My dear friends, our judiciary is doing its job impeccably and there is no way we can hold our judiciary culpable for someone else’s folly.
If you can recall what we all studied in primary school social science, the three pillars of Indian democracy are the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. It is executive and its representative’s responsibility to maintain law and order in public life. And who are these representatives? The President, The Prime Minister and other appointed officials of Government. It is their duty to make sure that law and order is not overlooked and they are legally made responsible for people’s social and collective well-being. Judges are appointed to interpret and enforce the law. They belong to a different pillar called judiciary. Now good governance lies in the co-operative functioning of these two pillars. I can compare this to a professor-student relationship. Just because two or three students in the class failed, you cannot put the blame on professor when the rest have managed to score well. Just because the student got sick, professor cannot fill in for him in exams, although the professor is aware of the student's capabilities. Just like the professor has a certain decorum of University which he has to follow, the judges are also abided by rules of the constitution. Teaching is his job which he is doing excellently. In other words, the “judiciary” pillar is functioning perfectly. On the other hand, the “student” pillar (executive) cannot blame the other pillar (judiciary) for its own mistake. In fact, the professor is trying to balance by taking that extra load when required.
Now, coming onto emotions of people; it is not that emotion does not play its part during a case hearing. After all judges are human beings, just like you and me. Without that, judges can be replaced by robots. So I strongly deem that emotions definitely have scope in any case hearing. But it is always tempered according to the arguments put forth by the lawyers and prosecutors. This is where the dexterity of the appointed lawyers come into picture. If a lawyer fails to take advantage of this, it is not judiciary’s problem. I believe this is what happened in the Cauvery Verdict. Any justice bench would have given a similar verdict with the way Karnataka's legal team presented the case.
Emotion can never be a strong driver in a legal analysis. In other words, during the entire case hearing, it should never be the bad cop. If this happens, it is a dangerous sign. A judge can never consider the emotions outside the purview of the case in the final judgment. In a practical scenario, deliberation is not as easy to handle as it is read from the verdicts and newspaper write-ups.The logical model of judicial decision-making is very different from that of how we perceive things from outside.
As a common man, we are indeed emotional and it is okay to protest. But there are lot of other peaceful ways. The least we can do is not to give ears to the rumors that judge was unfaithful, justice bench was surreptitious, judiciary is a failure or other such nonsense. By doing this, we are vexing others and thus spreading hatred. Before coming to conclusion in such occasions, think wise and don’t let your rage blind spot the facts and figures. Instead of instinctively making the judicial system a bad cop, albeit the challenges, for now and for a long time to come, let us appreciate the fact that ours is one of the best judicial systems of the world.
Image courtesy: maggcom.com, tamilmemes.com and othlananmaklu page on fb