Sunday, September 30, 2018

My Lord! How do you judge?


India has seen some high profile decisions from the Supreme court. Notable of them are the following
  • Section 377 - Decriminalisation of consensual sex between homosexuals (Score: 5-0)
  • Section 497 - Adultery is not a criminal offense. (Score: 5-0)
  • Sabarimala verdict - Allowing woman in Sabarimala temple (Score: 4-1)
  • Aadhar verdict - Aadhar is valid and government can use it for identification (Score: 4-1)
These are some of the high profile cases that got judgments recently. Apart from the first two cases which got the judgment unanimously, the last two cases did not have the same clean sweep. It's not important that what you or I think about it. A judgment from SC is binding and has to be followed independently of our inclinations.
The bigger question is also not about whether the judgment is right or wrong. With due respect to the court, if it has been delivered it's a law now. The interesting part of this and many other judgments are the last two one which got a score of 4-1.

A 4-1 means that not all judge agreed to the judgment. In fact, one of the judges went negative on it. This brings a very important question that how the submissions and arguments are interpreted by an individual judge? Why even one judge has to take an opposite stand?

This brings another important and deeper question about the base of our legal framework. How can even one judge come to a completely opposite conclusion about an issue if everyone is looking into the same law books and legal concepts? Does this mean that it depends on the constitution of the bench that what kind of decision will come? If the bench would have been the kind of dissenting judge, would it have resulted in a complete opposite decision?

Legal frameworks have become the fundamental way the society is driven in terms of what to do and what not to do? But do we have a unique interpretation of laws? Judgments not with a clean sweep are indicating that it's not the case.

Recently we have seen dissent in Supreme court with four judges coming out in terms of how the cases are allocated. Looks like the constitution of the bench is the key for certain results for a judgment.

Judges are human and they should remain human. It's understandable that they will have their own beliefs and inclinations. However, when it comes to the interpretation of arguments for the decision, can it be a function of an individual?

Something is deeply flawed in the way the framework is structured and it's more worrying as it impacts the society in terms of telling what is right and what is wrong.

Picture Reference : https://pixabay.com/en/lawyer-scales-of-justice-judge-450205/

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