Well said, Your Lordships by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JULY 20, 2011)

In this age of falling heroes and failing institutions when one comes across ministers behind the bars (after being properly stripped of their portfolios, of course), senior bureaucrats and police officers serve Jail terms for criminal acts and judges are charged with criminal misdemeanor, it is heartening to see two Supreme Court judges upholding the highest standards of the noble profession.

I am referring to the observations of Justices Singhvi and Justice Ganguly of the Supreme Court of India boldly affirming the rights of the poor, the Dalit and the “Little Citizen” to have equal access to the protection of law, which their Lordships have affirmed. The law has been protecting the powerful and the rich, not the poor and the weak, their Lordships have observed.

The observed last week that some lawyers, journalists and public figures had routinely been criticising the higher judiciary for entertaining genuine public interest litigation to protect the rights of the poor and the weak.

Since the later half of the 1990s we had virtually ceased to hear such assertive voices in favour of the weak: “…so far the courts have been used only for the purpose of vindicating the rights of the wealthy and the affluent.”

That is a fact, Your Lordships, that a common citizen knew all along but did not have the courage to tell. You are right, Your Lordships, when you say: “It is only these privileged classes which have been able to approach the courts for protecting their vested interests. It is only the moneyed who have so far had the golden key to unlock the doors of justice.” True, Your Lordships. True.

To their eternal credit, they have exposed the powerful vested interests and their strategy of browbeating justice-asserting, forthright judges. Their Lordship have rightly said that judges are praised when they pronounce judgment in favour of the rich, but are roundly criticised if they try to rectify the profoundly unjust order that hurts the weak.

Well said, Your Lordships. The weak must not be disinherited. People who speak for the meek will be remembered by history. 


(Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam)
 

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