This refers to the editorial “Justice denied” (May 9). According to the editorial, the judiciary has faltered on transparency and fairness test. I completely disagree with this view.
This is a procedural matter that is liable to be interpreted liberally and strictly by all judgments of the Supreme Court unanimously. That being the principle of interpretation, one cannot go on picking holes in the procedure all the time. Substantial justice has been done to the complainant by letting her appear before a set of three judges, two of whom were women. Even her complaint about one judge having been chosen earlier, who was apparently the friend of the chief justice of India (CJI), had been addressed as that judge recused himself. Not allowing a lawyer in the hearing is not a new thing. In cases of detention under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act 1975 also the detained smuggler is not allowed any lawyer before a bench of three judges. This is going on for the last 44 years and no objection has been raised so far. Your editorial has described the three judges as having “reporting relation” with the CJI. Such description is based on a misunderstanding of the relation between the CJI and the judges. They do not report to the CJI and, in any case, are not subordinate to him. They frequently give dissenting judgments and their seniority is intact.
The most serious fact that your editorial is ignoring is that the inquiry is a fact finding one and not a legal one. What exactly did the CJI do to her that she considers as sexual harassment was the main issue? She deliberately walked out of the enquiry on some technical ground that a lawyer was not allowed. What would the lawyer narrate that she could not narrate herself? It was a deliberately planned ploy not to allow the inquiry to proceed.
Another pertinent incident that the editorial does not take into account is, as many as four big and long articles have been written by a senior lawyer named Dushyant Dave in The Hindu. Was not one article enough? Such fire work of articles within a few days in one newspaper raises definite suspicion that somebody is pressing a point too much. More cannot be written on this but one must understand the significance of it.
Finally, the last line of your editorial is patently wrong. The arresting of the agitating women lawyers was not done by the order of the SC judges but by the usual police staff, headed by a deputy commissioner of police.
Your editorial has been unfair and has denied justice to the SC judges.