A highly controversial comment

A judge of the Meghalaya High Court has, in course of a recent judgment, observed that India should have been declared a Hindu country at the time of independence. He wrote: “Pakistan declared themselves as an Islamic country and since India was divided on the basis of religion should also have been declared a Hindu country but it remained as a secular country.” He went on to add: “I make it clear that nobody should try to make India another Islamic country, otherwise it will be a doomsday for India and the world.”
The causes and circumstances leading to the partition of India were well known to the founding fathers of our Constitution. But they decided to make India not a Hindu country but a secular republic. Secularism is written into the Preamble to the Constitution of India. Every High Court judge, at the time of assuming office, has to take an oath which says: “I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established.”  It is open to debate if the Meghalaya High Court judge’s observation is in conformity with his oath of office that he will bear “truth faith and allegiance” to the Constitution.  His other remark that nobody should try to make India another Islamic country is also strange. Pray, who is trying to make India an Islamic country?  Has anybody made such a demand? 
But the judge did not stop at that. He did not conceal his political proclivity when he observed that “only this government under Shri Narendra Modiji will understand the gravity, and will do the needful . . .” Only Narendra Modi and none else? This is tantamount to questioning the patriotism of all other citizens. It betrays a mental make-up that is violative of the spirit of neutrality of a dispenser of justice and his remaining above politics. The judgment delivered by this judge should be a subject matter of wide public debate because if one judge after another delivers judgments that comes into conflict with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, it will be a bad day for the country. At the moment the judiciary, especially the higher judiciary, is the last recourse of the citizen against the arbitrary acts of the State. If judges begin to make comments that clearly smack of political bias, whom will a citizen turn to?  It is also time for the legal fraternity to consider whether such remarks do not harm the institution of justice delivery.

Saturday, 15 December, 2018