Talaq, Godman, Rocky, Privacy... Judiciary keeps the common man’s hopes alive
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last word on the complex issue of individual privacy that seemed to be under threat from the state itself, abolished an outdated and impractical religious practice, and sentenced a self-styled godman who brought three states to a near halt.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.