01 November, 2020

Justice And Opacity

Congress and the judiciary—a crucial story that remains untold

Justice And Opacity
WHETHER it was unfair or untrue, I cannot say, but it was during the term of Hans Raj Bharadwaj (minister of state for law in the crucial decade of the 1980s and after) that an important adage gained currency in and around the Delhi High Court: "Who says you need to know the law? All you need to know is the law minister." In the first and second reigns of Mrs Gandhi, the strain in the relationship between executive and judiciary began. The unease reached awkward levels during Bharadwaj's term. Was Bharadwaj just a strong law minister or an emissary from the powers that be? And, if he was just 'strong', what was there to be strong about? Significantly, it was also during this period that the judiciary transformed itself into a strong independent institution of State.

This book is not Bharadwaj's story. I wish it was. Rather, it is the former law minister's testament to himself to show that he was—and is—well versed in the shastra of law at the very highest levels, quite capable of not just exposing the errors of the likes of Arun Shourie on the Muslim Maintenance...



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