The Supreme Court of India is a Court of Rights, Not of Contempt

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File photo of Supreme Court. Photo: Shome BasuLAW

The Supreme Court of India is a Court of Rights, Not of Contempt

As Indians, we have watched helplessly in the past months as the government has held our liberties and constitutional values to ransom, while the court appears to have abandoned us.

Mahua Moitra

Mahua MoitraLAWRIGHTS29/APR/2020

I read a disturbing news report in early March, which detailed how a prominent social activist, Harsh Mander, was severely criticised by the Supreme Courtfor allegedly making derogatory remarks about the judiciary. I found it odd that the court had prioritised focusing on his alleged remarks, rather than the grounds of his petition which concerned political hate speech.

In similar vein I read a newspaper headline two days ago which really stayed with me: “Bar members can’t hold the judiciary to ransom: SC”. The irony in that statement was so acute that I could not help but sigh in dismay.

As Indians, we have watched helplessly in the past months as the government has held our liberties and constitutional values to ransom, while the court appears to have abandoned us. It has delayed, dithered and finally refused to take a stand on most issues that are fundamental to our democratic ethos and indeed to every principle laid down by our founding fathers. Constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act? No urgency, let matters settle down. Habeas corpus? Not important, it can wait. No internet access for the people in an entire state? Sorry, won’t strike down restrictions that are unreasonable. Desperate, dying migrants? Adjourn, adjourn and adjourn. Give the government enough time to render the matter infructuous. How about the legitimacy and transparency of political funding via electoral bonds? Do we really need to rule on that right now – elections are happening efficiently after all aren’t they. I could go on and on.More in Home

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