The senior advocate criticised the role of judiciary in the cases of activist Umar Khalid and Bhimakore Gaon and the Supreme Court’s stay on Dr. Sai Baba’s acquittal
NEW DELHI – Noted advocate Mihir Desai criticised the judiciary for judgments on the cases of activist Umar Khalid and Bhimakore Gaon and the Supreme Court’s stay on Dr. Sai Baba’s acquittal and pointed towards the influence of executives on Judiciary.
“The influence of the executive on the judiciary isn’t necessary like the Prime Minister or the Home Minister calling the judges. It works in subtle ways- such as favours post retirement etc. And some judges may actually believe in the current regime,” said Desai addressing an online discussion.
The discussion was held last week by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Personal Liberty and Indian Courts. Desai and Advocate Gautam Bhatia examined the recent three judgements relating to the denial of bail of Jyoti Jagtap by the Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy case, the stay on the Bombay High Court judgment of acquittal/discharge of Dr. GN Saibaba and others by the Supreme Court and the denial of bail by the Delhi High Court of Umar Khalid in the Conspiracy case of the Delhi Riots of 2020.
Desai pointed to some loose arguments and observations made by the court and the prosecution and explained how he was attacked those points.
“When I was arguing Jyoti’s case, the prosecution repeatedly said that they call each other comrades so they must be a part of a party. Yesterday I was reading a book by Woodson, where he keeps on calling everyone comrades. There are parties which have Communist in their names. Some judges don’t even understand. 20 years back at least judges were aware of this. Murdabad means ‘death to’. So any person saying Murdabad should be behind bars? Sometimes it’s like hitting your head against the wall,” said Desai.
He was indirectly also criticising the Delhi High Court’s judgment denying bail to Khalid in which some adverse observations were made by the court with regard to the use of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’.
Talking about the issue of a frontal organisation which was raised by the prosecution Joyati’s case and author Anand Teltumbde, the senior lawyer said, “Most important aspect is the question of frontal organization. Jyoti was a part of Kabir Kala Manch. You can’t throw names that this is a frontal organisation unless you come with a clear government notification. What is the basis of holding Kabir Kala Manch as a frontal organisation? Nothing. Just the other day the Prime Minister called ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ an Urban Naxal Movement. Anything can be called this, which is okay for politicians but for courts to hold such organisations as frontal organisations is wrong.”
Addressing the questions of hope with the judiciary, Desai noted that the battle for fundamental rights given in the constitution cannot be stopped how adverse the situation is. A tiny part of the battle for the rights is fought in the court. It should be fought on another front too. He also pointed out that however authoritarian the government could be, it will always look for legitimacy and show the independence of the judiciary. It could be for political or economic reasons.