By: Parmanand Pandey

Justice Markanday Katju, most of the times, makes an ass of himself by his totally unconvincing, illogical, partisan and ridiculous statements. Right from the time he has become the Chairman of the Press Council of India he has developed the unquenchable thirst for publicity for right or wrong reasons and that is why he often issues silly statements on almost all subjects under the sun. People are now so fed up with his blabbering that do not hesitate in calling him ‘megalomaniac’ and ‘vagabond’ etc. These epithets, which are attributed to him, are entirely of his own creation.

Go to the Bar of the Supreme Court of India and one will come across with many distinguished lawyers, who would vouchsafe that while on the Bench he was not known for the formidable knowledge of law or elegance of the language of the judgments but for his acid and sarcastic comments, which were invariably uncalled for. Many lawyers used to sit in his court rooms, even if they had no cases listed for hearings, for the free entertainment that used to flow from the Bench of Justice Katju.

His article on Narendra Modi that was published in the Hindu was not only in bad taste but also unbecoming of the person, who holds a high statutory post and was once the judge of the Apex Court of country. When the protests started coming thick and fast from across the country, he tried to slink out by saying that the article was written in his personal capacity and not in the capacity of the Chairman of the Press Council of India. It is nothing but a vain effort to befool the public. I am sure he must be aware of the fact that nobody would have taken notice of his statements and articles if he was not the Chairman of the Press Council of India.

Now his recent statement on Sanjay Datt has come as a rude shock to every law-abiding, well-meaning and conscientious citizen of the country. He appeared to be in the tearing hurry of issuing a statement on Sanjay affair which could create controversy and he might be able to reap the resultant dividend of publicity and for that he would not mind doing anything and everything. He has, needlessly, been advocating for Governor’s mercy to Sanjay Datt and the logic which he advances in his plea is atrocious and bereft of any plausible reasoning.

Surprisingly, he issued his statement for clemency to Sanjay Datt even before the ink of the Apex Court Judgment had dried and well before the same could put on the official web-site of the Supreme Court of India. In his haste to please his masters he forgot to check his facts that under which provisions of the Constitution of India the clemency  in such types of cases could be sought for by any convict from the President of India.

I am sure if he had taken some trouble to go through the judgment of the Supreme Court, he would certainly have come to know that the punishment meted out to Sanjay Datt is fully justified and based on proper interpretation of law and jurisprudence. It may be noted that his confessional statements, which he retracted after many months, would make it as clear as the day-light that he (Sanjay Datt) was guilty on many counts and he is not at all as innocent as his drum beaters are trying to make out. It is good that he has himself said that he would neither file the Review Petition in the Supreme Court nor send any petition before the President of India to be pardoned.

Any clemency, therefore, to Sanjay Datt would prove counter-productive and people would lose all faith in the judicial system as well as in the executive that both work overtime for the rich and resourceful person while poor man is allowed to rot to his fate. It would be, in fact, in the fitness of things that any talk of clemency or pardon for Sanjay Datt should be put to permanent rest and loose talkers like Katju must be snubbed.

In all fairness, Mr. Katju should resign from the post of the Chairman of the Press Council of India and indulge into the politics by joining the party of his grandfather K.N. Katju i.e. the Indian National Congress. However, in case he does not resign, which I am sure he will not, then the government would do service to the country and the people by immediately sacking him.