On the 8th of December two Supreme court Justices, made two or three significant statements, separately regarding the state of affairs in the country concerning freedom of expression and the ominous 'communal ' divides, which prevails.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Justice Altamash Kabir said in Shillong, that the courts are inundated with cases, more than a few lakhs and it was not possible for both the courts to settle these issues. Some mechanism must be devised for redressal, based on mutual understanding, He further stated that in States like Megahalaya, the traiditional institutions like the Dorbar Shongs headed by a headman should be acquainted with basic legal matters.
This is a very critical point as the local headmen enjoy certain powers to coordinate activities in localities for maintaining, not only law and order, but looking into community grievances and community participation, The Chief Justice of India had come to Shillong to launch legal literacy clubs, among college and university students. Justice Altamash also said that freedom of expression has to be considered on the lines of not hurting sentiments, not hitting under the belt to antagonize communities and peoples.
This remark was a tangential reference to the recent arrest in Mumbai, of two college going girls, on the remarks made against the leader of an organization, who had passed away.
The Chief Justice's remarks are objective and based on the collective conscious that is India, diverse as it is, with heterogeneity of caste, community, tribes, and peoples. His remarks on jurisprudence limitations bring to the fore, the problem of legal immunity which the higher courts have, and a centralized Lok Adalat in states can tackle the problems of decision making. Localised systems of law, can make the law processes settled under an arbiter, and mutually.
The next statement more irascible and brash was made by former Justice of the Supreme Court, and the present Chairman of the Press Council of India, when he castigated the Indian public for falling a prey to power mongers, for meagre amounts of money which breaches community unity. He described 90% of Indians as '' idiots'' who rustle under political leverage, and succumb to "communal'' virus, Hindu- Muslim or whatever the case maybe.
Justice Katju's statement and use of the word ''idiot'' is rather demeaning to put it mildly, to Indian sensibilities, but it is very true that not have the political bandwagon let us down, in the most immoral and anarchic way, but also true that people fall a prey to their mercenary and money buying tactics. In that manner we are foolish to make these people our masters, when they should have been 'servants'.
I have seen the same thing in the North East Region, where the politicians have invariably played the 'outsider' card especially before elections, but the common man does not in most cases, subscribe to this, especially towards people who have lived in the region for generations. The bogey is raised by the politicians, by instigating common people, and the same politician uses it as a trump card after the elections. They live dangerously.
These statements of two Justices of the Supreme Court coming on the same day, are fraught with meanings, and once again is a noble witnness to the overall transparency of our Judiciary.