ISSN 2330-717X

India: Recent Trend Of Defiance Of Judiciary Could Lead To Anarchy – OpEd


The Supreme Court ordered the Karnataka government to release a certain quantity of cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, which was defied by the Karnataka government. The Supreme Court ordered that Jallikattu should not be conducted in Tamil Nadu,  and the case to review the order is still pending. In several places in Tamil Nadu, Jallikattu has been conducted defying the Supreme Court order.

And, in Andhra Pradesh, despite being banned by the High court, rooster fights were organized in about 200 venues in the East Godavari and West Godavari districts. Local representatives attended the events as chief guests. The court’s directive has not deterred the organizers and punters.

There have also been similar other instances of defiance of court orders in the past in variety of ways.

Judiciary no more the lofty body that it once was

Possibly, the main reason for such defiance of judiciary is that it does not anymore command the type of respect that it did earlier.

With Supreme Court judges refusing to have transparency in the appointment of judges, quite a number of judges having been caught on corruption charges or accused of being corrupt or even accused of sex scandal, some former judges like Katju questioning the Supreme Court order, some of the controversial observations of the judges inside and outside the court premises and some judges sharing platform with those facing corruption and criminal charges, judiciary seem to be rapidly losing it’s pivotal position and lofty image that it once enjoyed.

Lawyers also fast losing credibility

Gone are the days when several lawyers glorified themselves by remaining steadfast with their principles and revealing high qualities of intellectual caliber. Today, we see conditions where some lawyers indulge in street battle between themselves (as it happened in Chennai a few months back), abuse the judges in the court premises and indulge in several other misdeeds.

The contribution of some lawyers to the visible fall in the image of judiciary is considerable.

A disturbing perspective

In such circumstances, perspective seem to be developing among section of people that the order of judiciary need not be considered sacrosanct and they go to the extent of organizing demonstrative mass protest against the judicial order.

So far, those who defy the court orders by threatening to disrupt law and order have got away and courts give an appearance of being helpless in tackling such defiance.

This is a very unhealthy situation, a disturbing trend and can lead to anarchy.

Should not the judges be concerned?

It particularly causes concern that the judges in the apex court have not given any indication so far that they are conscious of such disturbing trend. The Chief Justice of India so far does not seem to have taken any effective steps to improve the situation by enforcing appropriate code of conduct for the judges. As a matter of fact, code of conduct for judges is conspicuous by its absence.

The Chief Justice of India should constitute a disciplinary committee to implement the code of conduct for judges, to ensure that judges would also be punished if they would err and fail to act, keeping in view the letter and spirit of the code of conduct for the judges.

With the credibility of the politicians and bureaucrats being so low, people seem to think that in the present conditions, judiciary should rise up to the occasion and punish the culprits and ensure fair play. It is increasingly becoming doubtful whether judiciary is now cut out to play such role of remaining as a watch dog and conscience keeper of society.

In any case, even if some damage has been done to the reputation of judiciary in recent times, the judiciary’s verdict should be accepted unquestioningly by everyone to prevent a scenario of free for all.

For this to happen, the judges have to become more conscious of their image and take due note of the severe dent that has happened to it in the recent past.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

3 thoughts on “India: Recent Trend Of Defiance Of Judiciary Could Lead To Anarchy – OpEd

  • January 16, 2017 at 4:43 am

    It is not just the “image” of the higher Judiciary that requires guarding. The Judges of the HCs/SC must seriously introspect the role that they have arrogated to themselves in the recent years.The most unpardonable action of the SC is to defy the clear language and intent of the Constitution on appointment of the Judges of the higher courts and to defy the almost unanimous legislative stepto create a Judiacial commisssion. Engaging themselves in rivialities, expanding the meaning of words ( the recent ludicrous expansion of the word, :he:and verbose mediocre judgements have only added to lowering of public esteem. Lastly the higher courts in India must get away from their notion that their job is to purify and increase the efficiency of the Legislature and the Executive. Surely the boot is in the other leg!

  • January 16, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Even as I agree with everything you have stated, I feel that you have missed one point. Unfortunately, of late judiciary has started getting involved more and more on matters which normally should be left to the legislative or the executive. Examples:1. Whether country should have a uniform civil code is for the legislature to decide – Judiciary need not get involved; However whether triple talaque is admissible under law is within the ambit of the judiciary to decide. 2. Whether Jallikkattu in Tamilnadu to be allowed or not need be left to the executive- yes, specific instances of cruel acts could come under judicial scrutiny – not the moral or expected compassionate behaviour people. 3. How water is to be shared between states should be left to the political leadership and it is not for judiciary to spell out the quantities and mechanism of sharing.
    Judicial activism as now witnessed in India now is bound to tarnish the image of the judiciary and put it to disrepute.
    Regards Panicker

  • January 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

    While judicial activism is not totally out of place in the present day Indian governance but it is also true that there have been instances where the courts have seemingly exceeded their reach leaving some people interested in the justice delivery system in India puzzled about such interventions. This is an area where judiciary alone can set itself right so that its valuable time is spent on reducing the massive pend-ency clogging the justice delivery.


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