Remove the Rot from the Allahabad High Court

Justice Markandeya Katju once remarked about the Allahabad High Court, quoting the Hamlet of Shakespeare, that there was something rotten in the state of Denmark (paraphrase it with Allahabad High Court). There are three recent incidents related to the Allahabad High Court which further reinforce the comments of Justice Katju. Although he has not been considered a tongue-tied judge, yet it isn’t easy to disagree with his views on Allahabad High Court.

Just think over it. Is it not ridiculous to request the astrology department of Lucknow University to determine whether a woman, who is an alleged rape victim is a ‘ Manglik ‘ or not? In this case, a person, who has been sexually exploiting a woman on the pretext of marrying her refused to marry on the most bizarre ground of her being ‘ Manglik’ ( a horoscope condition being born under the influence of mars(mangal). This was a case of cheating, fraud and rape by the man, but the High Court lent credence to his most stupid logic of woman. When he was repeatedly raping the woman by holding out the assurance of marrying her, he should have been tried and punished, if found guilty, under those provisions instead of verifying the horoscope computability of the man and woman.

The way, the High Court passed the order to find out whether she was ‘Manglik’ or not is atrocious, illogical and shameful. The country must be thankful to the Supreme Court of India that it took Suo moto cognisance of the appalling order of the High Court. The Supreme Court bench sat on Saturday and stayed the High Court order. Since the order is in the public domain, so every citizen has got the right to comment on such unheard-of order.

Justice cannot be bereft of humanitarian consideration. It cannot afford to be asinine. In the Supreme Court, it is commonly seen that if anybody has undergone long imprisonment or is too old, infirm or suffering from incurable diseases or may die soon due to those reasons, the prisoner is released to be at peace with his family. But a 90-year-old man has been convicted in a 42-year-old case of mixing water in milk by the Allahabad High Court under the Food Adulteration Act. The convict has been sentenced to six months imprisonment and a penalty of Rs two thousand. The person has been arrested a decade after the High Court order. This is a sad reflection on the functioning of the judicial system that a nonagenarian, who is seriously ill has been arrested on the orders of the High Court.

In the third instance, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court Sudhir Agrawal said that there was a lot of pressure on him to buy time and not pronounce the judgment on the Ayodhya tangle. It is said that judges speak through their judgments, and they do not offer any explanation but here is boasting about his imaginary courage It may be noted that a three-judge bench of Allahabad High Court consisting of Justices S U Khan, Sudhir Agrawal and Daram Veer Sharma had delivered a 2:1 verdict on 30th September 2010. Justice Agrawal now says that there was tremendous pressure on him from family members as well as from outside, not to have pronounced the judgement on the Ayodhya issue. He claims that if he had not given a verdict then, the issue could not have been resolved for two hundred years. One wonders how a retired High Court judge can make such infantile claims. It is only the minority judgment of Justice Dharam Veer Sharma that would be considered a landmark and that was what has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Otherwise, the majority judgement of Justices Khan and Agrawal was a specimen of a bad ambiguous and unimplementable verdict. Justice Khan and Agrawal’s names will go down in judicial history as judges without any clarity.

However, what is all the more condemnable is that Agrawal is not coming out with the names of external pressures that were brought upon him. Such judges try to take the credit for which they do not have any right to boast. Justice Agrawal has, in fact, made himself a butt of jokes by such an absurd claim and thereby he has brought a bad name to the judiciary, particularly to his parent High Court of Allahabad. Such judges should be openly taken to task so as to maintain public confidence in the judiciary.