This article is in response to a comment on the IndiaFacts article titled, India is not the Vatican where a reader asks how can the country expect Judge Kurian Joseph to be secular when called upon to preside over a Hindu-Christian case, considering his communal letter to the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India. The present article must also be seen in the context of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the inaugural function of the Conference of Chief Justices in New Delhi where he emphasised the need for the judiciary not just to be seen to be incorruptible but to be incorruptible.
The stench from the rot in the judiciary can no longer be ignored or wished away. Justice Paul Dinakaran, formerly judge in the Madras High Court, elevated as Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court and now elevated to the Apex Court is enveloped in the stench of his own alleged corruption and misuse of judicial powers and authority. Justice Paul Dinakaran’s elevation is yet to be confirmed by the Collegium which has begun investigating charges of corruption leveled against him.
This writer has made the conscious decision to bring judges into the purview of public scrutiny, and to break the silence on corruption and other vices in the Bar and judiciary, and to continue to shout from rooftops until such time the judiciary convincingly demonstrates that it can be trusted to make itself worthy of the sweeping powers and privileges bestowed upon it by the people of this great civilization.
The myth of judicial propriety and infallibility began to come visibly and audibly unstuck at the seams in February-March 2009 in the wake of violent clashes which erupted between a section of goonda lawyers and the police on February 17 and 19 of this year inside the precincts of the Madras High Court. In the course of a series of columns on the events, this writer had observed that it was in the judiciary’s own interest to cleanse the Bar of these rowdies who, if not promptly disbarred would contaminate the pool from which would be chosen future judges.
Justice Paul Dinakaran exemplifies the nation’s indifference to the quality of men and women who enter our law colleges to study law, register themselves as lawyers and if they play their political cards right, don the robes as judges of our High Courts and the Supreme Court to preside over our destinies. Not surprisingly, neither the Chief Justice of India who peremptorily ordered the transfer of senior police officers who he opined were guilty of exceeding their professional limits on February 19 nor the Madras High Court chose to deal with the scum contaminating the Tamil Nadu Bar. Insider information suggests that the Madras High Court, which is now hearing the case, has decided not to take into account Justice Srikrishna’s interim report of the clashes in which he had indicted the lawyers for breaking the law and one sitting judge for failing to deal with the growing lawlessness among a section of the lawyers.
Judges hearing the case in the Madras High Court have also chosen not to take into account the fact that these goonda lawyers had molested visitors in Court Hall 3 on February 17 and are instead persisting in looking at the entire sequence of disgraceful events as merely a clash between the police and the lawyers. The judiciary therefore deserves to be critiqued as mercilessly as politicians or bureaucrats who too enjoy sweeping powers and privileges not enjoyed by the ordinary law-abiding citizen of this country, but who unlike the judges of the higher courts are not protected by the antediluvian armour of ‘contempt of court’, and are ultimately accountable either directly to the people of this country or to Parliament.
This writer has maintained that Christians and Muslims (with rare exceptions), no matter what positions they hold, use their positions and powers to serve their religion while Hindus serve secularism. Justice Paul Dinakaran, Sonia Gandhi, Union Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed, the late unlamented Samuel Rajasekhar Reddy, Farooq and other Abdullahs, Prannoy Roy, TJS George and Syed Naqvi typify the first while Justices Venugopal, Venkatachellaiah and Markandeya Katju, Shashi Tharoor, LK Advani, Barkha Dutt and Radha Venkatesan exemplify the second. When the judiciary, democracy’s protector-of-last-resort, stoically maintains an anti-Hindu stance in the service of secularism, it is actually encouraging Christian and Muslim communalism of the worst kind.
In the wake of the Mandaikadu Hindu-Christian riots in Kanyakumari in March 1982, Justice Venugopal, who had been commissioned to look into the causes behind the riots, submitted the Commission Report in 1986 to the Tamil Nadu government. The riots were triggered by the unchecked and unlicensed freedom given to churches to undertake religious conversion. One of the recommendations made by Justice Venugopal in his report was to regulate the building of new places of worship in Kanyakumari. The then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu the late Shri MG Ramachandran, accepted the recommendations and the government issued an order whereby obtaining the prior permission of the district collector was mandatory to build a new place of worship – temple, church or mosque. The other recommendation that the good judge made was to rein in the RSS and its parivar organizations besides holding them guilty of spreading disaffection and causing disharmony.
It has been another of my repeated observations that Indian polity believes that communal harmony and peace can be observed and maintained only when the Hindus do not react to any provocation and do not pay back their tormentors in the same coin. Indian polity’s artificial edifice of communal harmony rests on Hindu social and political disempowerment.
As is usually the case, Hindus faithfully abided by the letter and spirit of the law, the constitution, and other pieces of legal paper which came into being after Justice Venugopal’s report, whereas the adherents of the two Abrahamic faiths observed them more in the breach. This has been the modus operandi of the churches in Kanyakumari, ably aided and abetted by Justice Paul Dinakaran.
Churches and individual Christians, using the astronomical amounts of money pumped into this country by foreign White Churches, White Christian governments and funding agencies, buy small, medium, large properties allegedly for building a house. Within a year or couple of years, sometimes within months, after Hindus and Hindu organizations have been lulled to sleep, the Christian faithful’s house becomes a Christian prayer house. Hindus and Hindu organizations wake up, look at the small prayer house with a thatched roof, comfort themselves that they can handle it, yawn and go back to sleep again. When they next wake up, the prayer house has transformed itself into a full-fledged church.
The idiocy of Hindus knows no bounds. They continue to believe that our courts had, have and always will render justice, and when they finally see the innocuous Christian house for what it really is – a monumental church, they climb the steps of our court-rooms sometimes whining, sometimes throwing tantrums, begging and demanding, through petitions and writ appeals, but always with faith and hope burning in their hearts, for the church to be removed. Hindus are yet to learn the skills of managing our media and our courts while Christians and Muslims have honed and perfected their skills.
While Hindus file writ petitions asking the government to remove the church, Christians and churches file writs of mandamus demanding that the court issue directives to the state government and district administration not to violate their fundamental right to freedom of religion! From the ordinary Christian district revenue official, Christian lawyers and judges in the subordinate courts and High Courts, even Christian tribunal officers, they all know where their duty lies and without any elaborate network of conspiracy, each one simply does his religious duty. Without exception, Hindus have lost all cases in the courts relating to illegal churches that are mushrooming across the state. Not surprisingly, considering the Hindu judges who serve secularism and minority judges who serve their religions, Hindu petitioners have also lost all cases relating to temples too.
The skills of the Christians lie in the fact that they manipulated the judicial system to bring up these cases before Justice Paul Dinakaran, armed with accurate information pertaining to portfolio allocation of the judges of the Madras High Court. Every single petition and writ appeal by the Hindus has been dismissed and Justice Paul Dinakaran provided judicial relief to the churches in every one of these cases.
This was a raging scandal and only one among several other kinds of scandals involving other judges in Tamil Nadu’s courts; but because this was a scandal involving a minority religion and a minority judge, none from within the Tamil Nadu Bar dared to expose the scandal or challenge Justice Paul Dinakaran’s abuse of his judicial powers and authority to serve his religion—none except two intrepid Hindu lawyers.
I emphasize the adjective ‘Hindu’ because these two courageous lawyers have never been guilty of seeking to downplay their Hindu identity to climb the professional ladder. One of them, to my eternal gratification, in spite of dravidian political machinations, is today a serving judge in a High Court outside Tamil Nadu while the other will undoubtedly become a judge in the near future powered by his knowledge of the law, his scrupulous integrity and his fearlessness.
The first lawyer, who is now judge, decided to challenge one such judgment by Justice Paul Dinakaran providing relief to a church built without the prior permission of the district collector. With unassailable arguments and armed with conclusive proof this Hindu lawyer sought to overturn the judgment delivered by Justice Dinakaran in a writ of mandamus filed by the concerned church. The infamous judgment was on the verge of being overturned when the petitioners demonstrated their skill in using the judicial system to the advantage of their religion. Fearing that the overturning or setting aside of the judgment by Justice Paul Dinakaran would set the legal precedent which would similarly overturn other similar judgments, the Church withdrew its writ of mandamus in this case. This was only a tactical retreat because the issue of illegal churches would come up again before Justice Dinakaran through a different route. But the question remains, why did the First Bench of the Madras High Court allow the church to withdraw its writ of mandamus fearing an adverse judgment? If my memory serves me right the First Bench then was presided over by a gentleman suffering from a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease.
A writ of mandamus comes up for hearing before a single judge and for as long as Justice Paul Dinakaran presided in the courts as a single judge, the churches preferred writs of mandamus in the courts and manipulated them to come up before Justice Paul Dinakaran for hearing. But Justice Paul Dinakaran’s star was rising rapidly with political connivance and soon he had attained enough seniority to preside over a division bench. Now churches seeking legal cover for their illegal existence and who wanted only Justice Paul Dinakaran to decide their cases, smartly changed track and their writs of mandamus became Public Interest Litigations. PILs always come up for hearing before a division bench. Illegal churches managed to bring up their cases for hearing before Justice Paul Dinakaran, always citing as legal precedent, his previous judgments granting relief to similar illegal churches.
One such illegal church filed a Public Interest Litigation which came for hearing before the division bench headed by Justice Paul Dinakaran in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. The second Hindu lawyer cited earlier, outraged over the shameless and brazen manipulation of the judicial process by churches in Kanyakumari with the connivance of Justice Paul Dinakaran, decided to file a writ challenging the orders passed by Justice Paul Dinakaran, seeking overturning of these judgments citing ‘misuse’ of judicial powers and process. The case came up for hearing before Justice Ibrahim Khalifullah who chose to pick up the wrong end of the stick and instead of applying his mind to the gravity of the issues of probity and integrity raised by the lawyer, chose to latch on to my friend’s use of the word ‘misuse’. The good judge threatened the lawyer with suo motu charges of contempt of court and dismissed the case.
There are innumerable cases where judgments have been rigged, where one may charitably cite ‘non-application of mind’ instead of alleging chicanery, instances of downright manipulation of judges by senior lawyers, corruption, debauchery, drunken revelry by judges and lawyers and the criminal silence of the so-called decent lawyers who have still not mustered the courage or the dharmic will to cleanse the system.
In the meanwhile churches continue to mushroom across the state and Hindu organizations believe writing letters of protest on postcards to editors and filing petitions and writ appeals in courts will halt the church and Christians in their tracks. There is no law against dreaming foolish dreams and the laws that exist, in the absence of Hindu consciousness among the keepers and enforcers of the law, will not serve Hindu interests.
There are unconfirmed rumors that Justice Paul Dinakaran’s woes began the day he dismissed cases against a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. But to Hindus, it does not matter if the guilty person who gets away for physically abusing a woman is charged and punished for killing a deer. Hindus know that the wheel of dharma turns in its own time and in its own way. I do not remember Judge Kurian Joseph from wherever he was located back then, of writing to the CJI or the Prime Minister about Judge Paul Dinakaran “tinkering with secularim”. Only goes to prove my contention that no matter where they are placed in secular India, Christians and Muslims serve their religion first, last and at all times.
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.