Any country’s Supreme Court has a very important role to play. But is there anyone who checks the working of Supreme Court? What if it itself crosses the line? The theoretical concept of “checks and balances” aside, what happens if the top judiciary starts considering itself the “voice of the nation”? Allow me to point out some of the dictatorial judgements and observations made by our apex court in recent times –
· In the Cauvery dispute between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, when the Supreme Court gave a verdict which seemed to favour Tamil Nadu, some agitators in Karnataka turned violent and destroyed public property as “protest”. Then Supreme Court said, “how can you protest a decision of the Supreme Court?”, “how can a Supreme Court verdict be criticized”, “how can public conduct demonstrations against a Supreme Court verdict?”. While burning buses is not “protest” and those “protestors” should be severely punished, along with the politicians who sponsored them, who is the Supreme Court to stop peaceful public protests? At least on paper, India is a democracy. How can Supreme Court decide when public can criticize its judgments? Are SC verdicts beyond public criticism? When you decide to keep provisions like Section 377, you seriously think we will not criticize you? Is Supreme Court bigger than the public and citizens?
· In the recent BCCI Vs SC drama, the SC finally removed BCCI president and Secretary (in practical terms), and appointed its own people to run cricket in the country for time being. The Supreme Court sided with Justice Lodha and decided to implement all his recommendations. While some of those recommendations can be helpful, most of them are ridiculous and are clearly an imagination of someone who knows nothing about cricket, or life. While BCCI had 5 national selectors and most of us believe that considering the size of the nation and talent pool, the number should be increased, SC agreed with Justice Lodha’s recommendation of having 3 national selectors. Is that even logical? What is the rationale behind such a thought and the insistence of SC to make it real? According to me, cricket is the only game in the country which is properly and successfully run. Why do you disturb that one sport and turn a blind eye to others like football (being run by a politician from almost eternity), wrestling, boxing etc. Where was the SC when there was so much internal conflict in the national boxing association that IOC had almost decided that Indian boxers will play under international flag at the Rio Olympics? Where was the SC when no national trials were conducted for shooting and wrestling for a complete year just before the Olympics? The nation hoping for around 15 medals settled for 2, and then celebrated this mediocrity in the name of “women empowerment” and “positive outlook”.
· The SC made standing in attention-position compulsory while national anthem is being played in movie theatres, “to instil the feeling of patriotism”. First of all, what is “patriotism”? Going to Wagah border and competing in a screaming competition with Pakistanis is patriotism? Abusing anyone who questions the Army or govt is patriotism? Stopping release of movies featuring Pakistani artists by damaging theatres must be patriotism? Secondly, who the hell is SC to “instil the feeling of patriotism”? Is it the part of SC’s job description? It’s like using the RBI to counter terrorism and insurgency. Okay, let’s not go into that! If I believe that singing national anthem before a movie makes us patriotic and good human beings, then there should be no one passing lewd comments about actresses in movie theatres. Who is the SC to ask me to display my patriotism every time I go for a movie? Do all those super-intelligent and super-respectable SC judges understand the simple concept of choice?
· Addressing judges as “lordship” or the “prayer” at the end of the suits treat judges as above us. Yes, it is important to give some power and protection to judges so that they can pass fair judgements, but, we are not ruled by these judges. Why are we so obsessed with being ruled? Why do we want to remain those helpless creatures being ordered by politicians, judges etc?
Borrowing from the latest Vin Diesel movie, “There are no more patriots – just rebels, and tyrants”.