Kalpana Kannabiran Nov. 20, 2022 

Banal neologisms like “urban naxal” are elevated to the status of judicial descriptors – thereby conferred official recognition as categories that invite carceral treatment disregardful of the absence of specific actions that might warrant arrest and prolonged detention/imprisonment; disregardful also of the law in place; and disregardful of the fact that strict adherence to procedure in criminal matters is central to the protection of human rights.

What is not acknowledged but growing by the day is the disquiet around the travesties of justice, where the long shadow of the khap panchayat falls on courtly environments bolstered by majoritarian rhetoric.

For this reason alone, it is time to turn the tide. 

Writing, speaking, singing, public protest – on the roads, in universities and worksites – is public education on constitutional rights and provide occasion for citizens to remind governments of their fiduciary responsibilities set out in the Constitution.

Surely, irrespective of what levels of impunity governments claim and demand, we must at this time echo literary critic and writer KV Ramana Reddy, jailed during Emergency, who stood in court and asked:

“What on earth is this Parliamentary supremacy for? To beat down the judiciary?” (Court statement February 23, 1976.) On "Rights, Duties, Directive Principles: What is Fundamental?" By Justice Rohinton F. Nariman (Retd.), Supreme Court of India
11th November, 2022

- Bilkis Bano and G N Saibaba: A tale of two injustices October 22, 2022  The question is not about the power of the Chief Justice to order the listing of a matter before any bench at any time. It is about the unhealthy precedent that has been set. It is only in the rarest of rare cases that special sittings were held in the past, where the life and liberty of an individual was at stake. Never, perhaps, have they been held to take away the liberty of an individual who had secured the same through the process of the court, and not by executive fiat.
UAPA is a stringent and draconian law. It is difficult — perhaps even impossible — for a person prosecuted under the said Act to obtain bail. That is why procedural safeguards, such as obtaining sanction from a competent authority appointed by the central or state government, as the case may be, before launching prosecution have been provided. It is against this background that the Bombay High Court made the salutary observation that “the fight against terrorism was important, but procedural safeguards cannot be sacrificed at the altar of perceived peril to national security.”
Comment: Somehow some lawyers seem to have persuaded judges that the State is so weak against people like Sai Baba, Stan Swamy, or for that matter BK16, that cannot be confined in some other more human manner till the trial is done. And that should raise whatever "procedural" issues in the first instance. Teesta had insisted that the Gujarat Police take them to a jurisdictional police station so that she could record her statement and get due service..

The State position seems to be that Bilkis' and other women and their who were targetted in 2002, dont need any protection from people who feel that their "sanskar" allows them to violate human beings for their beliefs, and politics... and that the only issue was that the order followed formal procedure even if it was illogical or had key persons in the State disagreeing with it...

Former CJI UU Lalit explains how, why petition against GN Saibaba acquittal came to be listed on Saturday

Justice Lalit said that Justice Chandrachud, who had made oral remarks on October 14 against listing case on Saturday, never said anything about that when CJI Lalit asked him whether he would be part of Saturday bench.

In an interview to NDTV, Justice Lalit said that he was not aware of the adverse remarks made by Justice DY Chandrachud on October 14, Friday against listing of the case on Saturday."I was not aware because the registry officials simply came to me and said that there is a bench to be formed," said Justice Lalit.

"Only in rarest of cases sentences (after conviction) are suspended but I have never heard acquittal being suspended on a special Saturday hearing. The institution has to be concerned about itself and it is disturbing," Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal said at a public event.


Quite clearly, the entire proceedings against Saibaba are null and void without the previous sanction to prosecute him. Despite this, the SC took the unprecedented step of suspending the Bombay HC order to discharge him. 

by Madan B. Lokur


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