03 August, 2021

Objection, Milord

Judgespeak has crossed the bounds of courtesy. It's time for introspection.

illustration by Sorit
Objection, Milord
We have by now got so used to "judicial outbursts" in the Supreme Court that nobody cares to remonstrate. In no other apex court would one find such a persistent tendency of intemperate, sweeping and undignified comments by judges. For four consecutive days this month, the public was treated to a sorry demonstration of the trait. On August 5, Justice B.N. Agrawal said during the hearing in the VIPs' bungalows case, "The whole government machinery is corrupt, whether at the Centre or in the states. They (senior officials) don't apply their mind, rather they don't have a mind to apply. They don't have the guts to differ with the opinion of clerks."

When Justice G.S. Singhvi intervened to say, "God alone will have to help this country," Justice Agrawal added, "Even God will not be able to help this country.... Our country's character has gone." This is not the language of an umpire, but more like that of a political adversary. Earlier, Justice Agrawal had remarked that the squatters should be arrested and given the "third degree". What message...

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