Monday, 19 September 2011

A tribute to Justice Markandey Katju

One of the finest judges I have ever experienced in my career, he is that rare judge before whom no senior holds his face value and before whom no junior will ever lose his face. Yes, I am pretty new in the profession as per the standards set by the bar for a lawyer to be accepted as knowledgeable, but I am not new to the manner exploited by that rare impatient judge who does not acknowledge frivolous cases and throws it off with a curt "Dismiss". I even agree with the majority of my brethren that this particular judge was a little ruthless and did not even hear out the case made out by the parties and on his own accord dismissed it. But I do not agree with the notion that he was not a fairjudge, the word "fair" having been interpreted by each and every lawyer in his own words depending on the fact whether the lawyer is appearing for the petitioner or for the respondent. The reason for his harshness was to send out a message that "you cannot file frivolous cases in the Supreme Court and get away with it". A clear message that the time of the Court is not to be wasted. A clear message that was not very clearly understood by the majority of the lawyers and blamed the judge for being impatient adn ruthless.

He is none other than Justice Markandey Katju. A towering personality over 6 foot, he was one of the most feared and famed judge in the history of the Supreme Court of India. He retires today, ending a legacy and an era of quoting Faiz, Mirza Ghalib, Firaq, and numerous other well lknown poets and writers who were quite an influence on this knowledgeable judge.

One thing that was most interesting about this loquacious judge was that he never seemed to be influenced by the presence of any hi-fi senior lawyer. He was impartial and unbiased to one and all. Once, in a case Senior lawyer Mr. Mukul Rohtagi was to make an appearnace. The briefing lawyer, on seeing that the senior lawyer had not yet reached the court and the matter being called out, asked for a passover, which in plain language means to request the court ot call out the matter for a second time when all the matters in the list get over. Justice Katju enquired from the briefing lawyer as to why she is not arguing. She said Mr. so and so is appearing and that is why a passover may be given. The instant reaction of Justice Katju was "Ms. Counsel, let me tell you very frankly that there is no merit in this case. Whosoever may appear for arguing this case, it is made clear beforehand that this matter will be dismissed by us when it is called out again. Please let your senior counsel about this." This ourightness instilled a deep respect for him. He was not the one before whom the face value of any senior would work and he was not the one before whom any junior would lose his face.

He also used to enjoy a lot in the Court with his innumerous quotes and sayings and hindi updesh which was very evident when one day he asked of noted lawyer and jurist, senior Nariman (Fali S. Nariman), "Do you have a matter or are you here to watch the fun?". The whole court exploded in laughter and senior Nariman wittingly replied "To watch the fun, Your Lordship". That was the kind of repute the judge had.

His another quality was to speak out in Hindi whenever he got an apporutnity to. He was not the one to be deterred by the English speaking lawyers babling on and on about their case. English being the official working language of the Court, lawyers and judges alike were supposed to converse in English, but Justice Katju was an exception. He made use of every opportunity to attack in hindi the bechara lawyer arguing before him. It was fun listening to him in Hindi. Maybe his roots had a great influence on him. Maybe he was more comfortable in speaking out his mind in Hindi. But you never know. I was just wondering of the time when he sat in the High Court of Madras as Chief Justice.

His love for subjects such as Urdu and sanskrit is evident from the numerous famous judgments he wrote where at the start he quotes poets like Faiz, Firaq and Mirza Ghalib. His interests in literature is evident when he time and again quotes Shakespeare and Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens and many others in his judgments and orders.

He was a judge who was very lenient towards prisoners who had spent long time in priosns for small crimes. He was also a judge who was very strict when it came to murderers and serious criminals.

To be contd...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


My neck gets ample of exercise in the mornings when I leave for office. As soon as I step down from my first floor home in Lajpat Nagar, I am greeted by the incessant ringing of tring-tring bells by rickshaw walas and the I-have-stopped-the-rickshaw-for-you-please-come-fast look. That is when the exercise of the neck starts. Every minute you are on the road you nod your head left-n-right with the no-I-dont-want-to-get-in-your-rickshaw look. It is notable that almost every rickshaw wala will stop his khali rickshaw for a minute or so expecting you to honour the seats of his rickshaw.
Almost the reverse happens in the case of a auto rickshaw. It is not their do-you-need-a -auto look that meets me every morning but the i-do-not-have-gas attitude or the more egoistic this-auto-is-for-hire-only-for-far-off-places-and-not-for-very-near-places-like-high court-or-supreme court and the newest formula they have adopted is I-do-not-get-savaris-from-supreme court-so-I-won't-go. Some won't even take the pain of approaching and asking the name of the place if they see Afghani people, who are large in number in Lajpat Nagar and make sure to come to the so-called auto stand everyday to travel everyday to God knows where to, waiting for an auto. Humph... Even a threat of complaining to the police does not help the case. Well, you can never force them to take you to your destination when they don't have fuel in their vehicle. That could cost me my job also. So I stand there waiting for humanity to happen and a auto wala whisking me away in his auto to the place of my choice ;) And when that happens, I make sure to give him an extra 5 bucks for being my saviour in time of trouble. And when that does not happen, I take the liberty to use my thumb to flag down an already occupied auto with the oh-I-am-so-getting-late-for-office-would-you-mind-giving-me-lift-till-the-place-I-get-an-auto look. In short, the ever useful abla naari in distress look does get a heart or two melted.

All said and done, I anyhow reach my destination and start the day anew forgetting the turmoil and recollecting it only when I feel a scratch in the hand and an urge to pen it down.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

hindi mein sher-o-shayari

Dil ki sunun ki dimag ki
dono paagal hain yeh itfak nahi

pyar mein jab is dil ne dhoka khaya
toh dil ne fuslaya "ki yeh toh bacha hai ji"
aur dimag ne samjhaya "ki yeh toh kacha hai ji...kisi pe bhi fisalta hai kyunki"

dil ki awaz mein thi woh gehrai
na samajh me aaya thi ki nadani thi dikhayi

jab dimaag ki baat par gaur farmaya
tab neend khuli aur hosh aaya

ki yeh duniya badi matlabi hai
sab karte yahan par gandagi hain

is duniya mein rehna hai toh dil se nahi dimag se kaam lo...
dil humesha toot tha hai aur dimag hamesha sambhalta hai.