Time to strike the gavel:
Context: on April 28, 1976, the Supreme Court of India Delivered a judgment in the Additional District Magistrate vs. S.S. Shukla Etc. case that allowed the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus during Emergency.
- Today, there is no Emergency, yet the constitutional and basic rights of scores have been suspended in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Worse, the Supreme Court has virtually taken away their constitutional remedy to enforce those rights.
- Regrettably, the court has treated habeas corpus petitions in a most casual manner by justifying negation of the rule of law.
What’s the concern now in J&K case?
Article 21 is about life and liberty, and all that the Supreme Court has done is to defer these crucial matters without taking the government to task.
- In the first instance, the state failed “to ensure normalcy” from the day it abrogated Article 370; it has now tried to buy more time from the top court to do so.
- The “situation is such that nobody knows what exactly is happening there”, but that is precisely why it is the duty to court to ascertain true facts. It cannot shy away from doing justice in the name of “security” and “law and order”.
It is not suggested here that the security of the nation can be compromised; nor can one argue that law and order ought not to controlled. But preservation of both is the duty of the state. If it intends to do so by taking away fundamental and basic human rights then one can infer that the state has failed in its duty.
The judiciary needs to dispel the perception that it is no longer the pillar created to protect constitutional and legal rights. In any failure, its stature and status as the “bulwark of the rule of law and the democracy” will be compromised.
Sources: the Hindu.