Justice Markandey Katju sans justice
Dr. Hilda Raja
I belong to the old school of thought which considers Judges impartial, unbiased and knew they are those who uphold the Constitution of India and interpret the law and dispense justice .They are the constitutional set of persons set aside for delivering justice and are supposed to be fair-unprejudiced and uphold the law. They see people as citizens of this country and on a levelled plane. There is no big and small, no high and low and no social status and education and money to impinge on their perceptions. For long I held this premise which I agree was slowly but steadily eroding. But the body blow to this premise of mine has come from Justice Katju who had pitched for pardoning Sanjay Dutt without rhyme or reason
What are his reasons? That Sanjay Dutt’s parents were actors-gracious people who were involved in Social Service etc Does This parentage issue come into the picture of those convicted?-That Sanjay Dutt propagating the ideals and values of Gandhiji by his film-‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’-that he is reformed and that he needed to protect himself and his family.It must be noted that Sanjay Dutt also had acted in films as a violent man. Does it mean that he was propagating violence? Justice Katju must have lost his equilibrium when he stated all this because none of this can be valid for pardoning a person who should have been punished under TADA. Sanjay Dutt did not have a family to protect when he procured those lethal arms.His daughter was in the US and he had not married a second time-and did not have children then. Why had he been absolved of abetting terrorism is a mystery.
It was public knowledge that his arms were outsourced from mafia bosses-which means he had prior knowledge of the unloading of the arms consignment on the shores of Mumbai. Was this huge cache of arms and ammunition for exhibition? Any honest citizen would have informed the authorities of this but Dutt preferred to be silent .By such silence he had abetted the worse terrorism in the country which left hundreds of innocent people dead and hundreds injured. His links with terrorists should have been probed. Now after letting him off the hook of serious abetment of terrorists’ crimes here comes Justice Katju pleading that he be pardoned.
There is no sense of justice in Justice Katju for making such a plea and to think that Justice Katju was a SC judge sends shivers down my spine. Show me the man and I will show you the law seems to be his position. Where does the Fundamental Right of equality stand in this plea of Justice Katju?Justice Katju has become now a Bollywood champion and hence not only for Sanjay Dutt but also for other Khans and Bollywood stars who shoot down endangered animals and protected species he says he will take up their cases for pardon. How very kind hearted of him. I wonder why Justice Katju is so fascinated by Bollywood only. Why his heart bleeds for them and why this great mercy for them?Or will this kind of attitude seeking pardon be extended to all the rich and those in high society?
But when Dev Ananda died and the media gave prominence to that news item in all the channels Justice Katju was very angry. He then wanted to know why such vast coverage was given for Dev Ananda not only in the electronic media but also in the print media. Why the front page carried this news? While Justice argued that farmers committed suicides and other pressing social problems were there the media showed a ‘lack of sense of priority’. At that time I thought Justice Katju was right but think he is wrong now because as a secular man he seems to carry his bias for a particular community on his sleeve. Hence to prove his secularism he does not mind even being called a Congressman.
Justice Katju forgets that the Congress is far from secular and is the most communal political party in India.That much for his sense of discernment. Thank heavens Justice Katju is no longer a sitting judge.
But one cannot but feel sorry for the Press Council of India to have a chairman who not only stirs a hornet’s nest but airs his bias and prejudices so blatantly. So back to Sanjay Dutt’s case one wonders why Justice Katju and others like Digvijaya Singh have become his advocates when Sanjay Dutt himself has rejected ‘pardon’. He must have felt guilty and knew that this is the least punishment he deserves-Of his four years of conviction one can be sure that he will be half the time out on bail for completing his films. Would it not then be fair to leave the 53 year old Sanjay Dutt in peace till he surrenders and completes his five year term of which he had served 18 months earlier having being released in 2007 on bail. Let him uphold the law of the land and show that he is like other citizen equal before the law. Justice Katju should advise him on this count.
By the way is there any time bound period for the tenure of the chairmanship of the Press Council of India. If so I wonder how many more years is left for Justice Katju-He need not worry because he has shown his secular credentials like the Congress and does not mind being called a Congressman if that means to prove his secularism. So it also means that post retirement benefits will come calling on him…may be a governorship. This would suit him because Raj Bhavan can become a Congress office with Justice Markandey Katju at the helm of its affairs-What is wrong after all so many Raj Bhavans have become Congress offices so one more can be added no harm.
There were times when ordinary souls like me would not dare to write about a former Justice of the Supreme Court but today there is no hesitation because Justice Katju by his views and actions has erased that line of reticence and lost much of that glow and halo that formerly used to surround Justices of the Supreme Court.
Dr Hilda Raja,