Two judgments are ‘celebrated’ for ‘protecting’ liberty. One was Supreme Court Judgement on Arnab Goswami where the Judges actually criticised Bombay High Court order of not being able to ‘protect’ the rights of an individual which is so important. The second judgement is from Bombay High Court quashing proceedings of BMMC against Kangana Ranaut‘s illegal structure.
In both the judgments written beautifully, the court emphases that ‘freedom of expression’ is so important in a ‘healthy’ democracy and the courts are there to protect. The Supreme Court felt that high courts are not doing enough in giving bails to the people and the Supreme Court would do everything.
The judgement is really wonderful and extraordinary as far as protection of the rights of two individuals, who have been most toxic and poisonous. Of course, the state of Maharashtra is vilified in both the cases as if it is the worst governed state or is not allowing political freedom or freedom to criticise it.
We are still waiting for the Supreme Court to define and design the draft regulatory guidelines for electronic media.
In the meanwhile, 85 years old Varvara Rao continues to incarcerate in the jail though as per high court’s order, he has been shifted to Manavati Hospital. but the government wanted their family to pay for the medical bills of him. So, the clear agenda is, we don’t care if somebody is not well.
The other man of high repute and complete dedication whom the nation should be proud off, is Father Stan Swamy, suffering from Parkinson disease the NIA court has not shown any sign of urgency to listen to his case as NIA has asked for time to respond to his request to have a straw to sip his tea and drinks as he can’t hold the cup in his hand.
There are other respectable scholars kept behind the bar without even a formal charge sheet as the state has found mechanisms under the law to keep people in jail without formally charging them. They languish for years and when after many years they get released or found innocent, their prime time is gone. who should be held accountable?
If the Supreme Court is so concern about bails then why can’t it ask the lawmakers not to make laws which give the state authority to keep people in jail without bail for years?
The courts are dealing with the issues individually and then making louder statements of high constitutional values but they can form a commission or ask the high courts about the state of such arbitrary arrests in each state and how NSA and UAPA are being used against political opponents or dissenters.
It is a fact that political parties in power misuse their state power and file false cases against their opponents but who are those people and states where it is being done at the highest level. Which states have scant respect for high courts that after the high court declares a law bad the state reiterates it. Which is the state where the high court releases a person and he is again arrested in some other charges. The court knows it but then the moral preaching is higher against non-BJP states very much like the cases of civil liberties and ‘freedom of expression’ where an Arnab Goswami or Kangana Ranaut become heroes of this freedom while Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Varvara Rao or Stan Swami continue to languish in jail. It is the very same logic which allows huge crowds at festival times or elections in Bihar but can’t allow the farmers to march to Delhi to lodge their protests against the draconian farm bills.
We can only remember Justice Krishna Iyer and Justice H R Khanna on the occasion when things get depressed and hope someday it will wake up the consciousness of those sitting on the institutions to protect our rights.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
November 28th, 2020