Nupur Sharma

debate opinion

Dangerous trends and the need for greater restraint and autonomous institutions

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat The Supreme Court of India has dismissed a plea by Nupur Sharma for clubbing together all the FIRs against her in different parts of the country. But before rejecting her plea, the court passed strong observations against her. The Court said that ‘she was singlehandedly’ responsible for what is happening in the country today. The courts also observed that whatever happened in Udaipur was because of her observation. Justice Suryakant actually asked her to apologise to the country and said that she was the spokesperson of a political party and should have been more restrained. After the Supreme Court’s observation, suddenly, there is a return of faith in our ‘institutions’. Actually, what can we do expect to have ‘faith’ whether we like it or not, Supreme Court is the final authority over anything that happens around us and hence whether we have faith or not, we have to accept its verdict. However, as I said many times, in the last few years, we have had more lectures and less judgement which provide us hope for the protection of freedom of expression and human rights. There used to be off-the-record observations but now there are open observations they do not necessarily form the part of the Court order or judgement but they create an impression which is difficult to ignore by the lower courts which might make a person guilty much before the trial has begun. Different yardsticks Just a few days back, the Supreme Court dismissed Zakia Jaffari’s petition on the Gujarat riots in 2002 when her husband Ehsan Jaffari was brutally burnt to death at the Gulbarga Society in Ahmedabad. Ehsan Jaffari was a freedom fighter, a Congress leader and a former Member of Parliament belonging to the Congress party.  She had been pursuing the case and had a right to be heard. There were people who stood with her and supported her. Activist Teesta Setalvad stood with the people and was instrumental in getting many of them justice. We don’t know but possibly she was also helping Zakia Jaffari in filing her petition or…