Indian judiciary has always been above the board and was the only light house in the overlapping darkness created by the political parties of all hues. The courts have also been the guiding forces for the state and central governments. However, the image of the judiciary is getting dented more often than not during the BJP government at the centre. It was for the first time in the history of independent India, that four senior most judges of the Supreme Court spoke to media persons and levelled charges against Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra. It was mentioned as the matter of internal differences and left to the Apex court to resolve. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while criticizing the opposition parties for filing the impeachment motion said the single greatest threat to judiciary was the divided court. He did not refer to the charges levelled by the four senior most judges against the Chief Justice of India. He also spoke about the demand to probe into the circumstances that led to the death of the judge B H Loya. He died in 2014, but the matter was brought to light by a magazine which through investigative journalism raised suspicions over the sudden demise of the judge. The Judge’s death raised eyebrows because when he died he was hearing the case of an encounter death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh involving Amit Shah, the BJP chief. Many fingers were raised towards the BJP leader and a demand was pressed for an impartial probe.
The judges who addressed the press persons on January 12 also expressed their concern that the pleas for conducting the probe into the death of the judge were allotted to a junior judge. Then the CJI heard the case at his bench. However, the pleas for probe were rejected point blank. The bench said when four judges who accompanied Loya to Nagpur where he attended a marriage said that the death was natural, no one should express doubt. It was their personal opinion and they did not depose before any court nor gave any affidavit. However, the bench headed by the CJI said no one should express any doubt because of the statement of the judges. If this assertion is correct then what about the four judges who found fault with the CJI. Were they lying?
The above incidents have definitely shaken the faith of the people in higher judiciary. Then what about the lower courts? An NIA court in Hyderabad set free five accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case in which nine worshippers were killed on Friday on May 18, 2007. Fifty eight others were injured. An RSS leader Aseema Nand who confessed his crime was also acquitted. The judge said, prosecution failed to prove his confession. Then came the judgment of the Gujarat High Court which in an appeal absolved the former state minister Maya Kodnani and she walked free. The lower court sentenced her to 28 years in jail and said she was the kingpin of the mob massacre in which 97 people were killed during the dark period of Gujarat riots. Against this background people are bound to lose their faith in the judiciary. There is pressing need to restore this faith.