Two People Who Are Reforming The Way Our Judiciary Thinks

Posted on May 5, 2012 in Specials

By Anannya Roy Chowdhury:

JUSTICE… this seven letter word is one of the most debated ones in the entire English dictionary. With the entire world population being linked to it, there is no doubt about the fact that with changing tongues the definition does change. For some it takes on completely new meanings to suit their current disposition in life, while for others, like the ones we are just about to discuss, the change is more a tool than any convenience.

Judicial activism in India; the two phases of the coin:

In the recent years, more than often do we get to know that criminal cases in courts were decided with the aid of human emotions where judges gave their verdicts going wayward from the normal flow of things in the constitution. Judicial activism might sound, for a lay man, a heavy-duty term but in the simpler manner is quite easy to comprehend. We can say in simple words that judicial activism is a practice by the judges that does not involve the balance of law, instead it hampers it. In judicial activism, the judge places his final decision with his heart and mind, which is emotionally handled. It, at times, works in our favour to save from the wrong decision to take place but at times it also backfires on us. In other words we can easily say that judicial activism is the practice going beyond the normal law for the jury. There are some very important cases which come in the talk whenever we discuss about judicial activism in India. Bhopal gas tragedy and the Jessica Lal Murder case are among the top two. The latter was an open and shut case for all. Money and muscle power tried to win over the good. But lately, it was with the help of judicial activism that the case came to at least one decision. The two most prominent figures in the Bar Council of India whose names are the most inter related with judicial activism are Justice Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati and Justice Vaidyanathapura Rama Krishna Iyer.

Justice P.N. Bhagwati was born on 21st December 1921 in a Gujarat Nagar Brahmin family and later on turned out to be the 17th chief justice of India. To start with, we should know that he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan and he also achieved the 2nd highest civilian award. The first case or the only case which comes in mind when talking about Justice P.N Bhagwati is the Habeas Corpus case. Habeas Corpus is a Latin word used for an action in which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. This case is also formally known as the ADM Jabalpur Case. In this case justice made a very controversial judgement. The comment made by him, in simpler terms, meant that during emergency, a person’s right which is to not be unlawfully detained can be changed. According to the circumstances, this comment of justice was not at all welcomed by the people and so he had to taste the sour after that. The people had said regarding the justice’s comment that it was a man’s job to respect the fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution. Later on, respected justice P.N Bhagwati had to apologise for his comment regarding that case. Recently, he was appointed the chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.

Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, the second most famous “judicial activist” of India was a November 1st 1915 born. He went on to become a in the Supreme Court of India. He also achieved the honour of being the minister in the first communist government in Kerala. He had done a lot of work for the development of Kerala. He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan and was also regarded as one of the oldest judges in India. Justice had lots of ups and downs in his career. He became the Home Minister for law, he won the Communist Party elections, he was the originator of Kerala Land Reforms Act, then he stepped another stone and he became a judge of the High Court of Kerala. He had achieved around an estimated 15-20 awards in his lifetime or even more than that and has also written more than 70 books for the people of India this list includes around 4-5 travelogues too. The name of Justice V.R Krishna Iyer is taken at the starting of the list that includes the names of the people who raised their voices for supporting the Baha’i tradition in the case of the Baha’i women. He was also one of the most prominent figures in providing the Muslim rights in India.

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