Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Extra-judicial comments on a matter sub judice

Isn’t it strange (or is it political?) that a former judge of the Supreme Court of India has nothing but extra-judicial opinions to offer against a Chief Minister of a state of India!

I recently read his tirade against NaMo in the Hindu. Initially, I thought I’d rubbish off the article as it was published in a leftist newspaper, the views of which I do not share (quite often). But the fact that he compared NaMo to the Nazis was a little too much for me to handle.

I might agree with him that the Chief Minister of the state cannot feign ignorance when the state is burning. NaMo might not have had any active hand in the riots that followed the Godhra massacre of a coach of travelers (allegedly Hindu karsevaks). But that doesn’t absolve him of his responsibility as the Chief Minister. A railway minister is asked to resign if a rail meets an accident. Here was a case of a complete state under riot, the Chief Minister must be held accountable. Agreed.

But then, that is where he goes too far… While the event might have some parallels with Kristallnacht, the leaders at helm cannot be compared. At the point, had NaMo actually been like Hitler, he would have had the power to exterminate every single non-Hindu in the state! And when 3 decades later, the perpetrators of the ‘84 riots are roaming free, it would be a understatement to say that NaMo would have been far safer! Make no mistake, the cases of Zakia and many others are indeed reprehensible. However, that the Supreme Court found no ‘direct involvement’ of NaMo should be respected. As a formed judge, Justice Katju, of all people, should realize and respect the verdict of the Honorable Supreme Court of India. His extra-judicial comments are unsolicited and definitely not appreciated – especially when, as he himself says, the matter is sub judice.

It is indeed scary that at one point in time, this very man – who believes more in his “At least I find this impossible to believe” than the proofs – was deciding cases, many of which might have been of national importance!! He admonished the Government of Orissa for being unable to prevent persecution of the minorities (Christians) in 2009. Guess the judge in him continues to preside over cases even when he’s been retired from the post – quite possibly, for good.