Talaq, God­man, Rocky, Privacy... Ju­di­ciary keeps the com­mon man’s hopes alive

Consumer Voice - - Editor's Voice -

At a time when a sec­tion of the in­tel­li­gentsia have been ex­press­ing anx­i­ety, and le­git­i­mately so, over the grow­ing dark nexus of power-hun­gry peo­ple – politi­cians, busi­ness­men, phony god­men as well as the na­tional me­dia – ma­nip­u­lat­ing the masses for their numbers games, there are a hand­ful of vi­sion­ary in­di­vid­u­als in the ju­di­cial sys­tem who are keep­ing our faith in the Con­sti­tu­tion alive. Last month has shown us how the Con­sti­tu­tion is big­ger than any in­di­vid­ual, com­pany, or even re­li­gion.

When­ever I read about an ag­grieved com­mon con­sumer chal­leng­ing mam­moth busi­ness en­ter­prises and win­ning against them at dis­putes re­dres­sal fo­rums, it makes me feel re­as­sured. In these times when ‘money and power can buy nearly ev­ery­thing’, the de­ci­sion mak­ers at the courts of law have not com­pro­mised with their weigh­ing scales. This faith got strength­ened af­ter the re­cent judge­ments that var­i­ous ju­di­cial benches of the coun­try had pro­nounced. These rul­ings have had the last word on the com­plex is­sue of in­di­vid­ual privacy that seemed to be un­der threat from the state it­self, abol­ished an out­dated and im­prac­ti­cal re­li­gious prac­tice, and sen­tenced a self-styled god­man who brought three states to a near halt.

There is no doubt that these de­ci­sions have en­cour­aged thou­sands of judges at the ses­sions and district courts as well as of­fi­cials at con­sumer-dis­pute fo­rums to stand by what is right. These three land­mark ver­dicts have also sent out a strong mes­sage to dis­tressed in­di­vid­u­als to stand up against the wrong. The mes­sage is that if no one among the pow­ers that be is lis­ten­ing to you, if the lead­ers you voted for have turned their backs on you, you can—and you must—knock at the court of law.

I take in­spi­ra­tion from coura­geous 35-year-old Sha­yara Bano, who chal­lenged the more than 1,000-year-old prac­tice of triple talaq post her di­vorce through the same prac­tice. Lit­tle did she, or any­one else, know that her bold move would cul­mi­nate in a historic de­noue­ment. The high­est court of the coun­try stood by Bano, a com­mon ci­ti­zen, and struck down the dis­crim­i­na­tory and un­just prac­tice of in­stant talaq. Thanks to her courage, no man in the coun­try will now be able to di­vorce their wives on phone, Skype or What­sapp, which was be­com­ing a sort of fash­ion among ur­ban Mus­lim men as per an In­dian Ex­press re­port.

We all have fol­lowed the case of the self-pro­claimed guru Ram Rahim. Again, the ju­di­ciary lived up to our faith and pro­nounced its judge­ment with­out giv­ing in to the threats of ei­ther the in­flu­en­tial nexus or the blind up­roar of the man’s mil­lions of fol­low­ers.

Then, amid all this came an­other most in­ter­est­ing judge­ment. It was a tough call for the nine-judge bench (a rar­ity) of the Supreme Court as they were to sit and ar­gue against the judge­ments made by their older col­leagues (an eight-judge bench and a six-judge bench rul­ing in Kharak Singh case). The bench unan­i­mously held that right to privacy was a fun­da­men­tal right and was in­trin­sic to the right to life. The judges over­ruled all pre­vi­ous judge­ments of all courts on the right to privacy and put a ques­tion mark on sev­eral ini­tia­tives of the gov­ern­ment.

And just as I had fin­ished pen­ning this piece, there was the news flash that Rocky, the no­to­ri­ous son of a politi­cian mother and his­tory-sheeter fa­ther, had been found guilty of mur­der of an in­no­cent in a road-rage in­ci­dent. Ap­pre­ci­ate the judge who did not give in to the pres­sure of the stress­ful pol­i­tics of Bi­har.

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