Courts are only aids, not substitute to social action, says High Court Justice Rajendra Sachar
Renowned civil liberties activist and former chief justice of Delhi High Court Justice Rajendra Sachar said that courts are only aids for those who fight for justice, but cannot be substitute to social action. Speaking on 'Judiciary-Public Interest Litigation (PIL)', at a meeting organized by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Andhra Pradesh unit and Indo-Nepalese Cultural Centre (INCC) in Hyderabad, he said courts are not like computers. Attitude of judges determines its judgments, he said.
He asked if people can’t fight for their rights how can they expect court can do for themselves ? He advised activists not to depend on courts for a real change. Ultimately, he said in a democracy power rests with people. He felt that PILs have only a limited role to play in our society.
He deplored nowadays court judgments looks like bureaucratic attitude. Stating that earlier judges used to be more social conscious and in cases where employees are being arbitrary terminated courts used to by sympathetic with employees. There are many cases where courts directed employers to take back such employees by paying back salary for the terminated period. However, he deplored recently Supreme Court held in such case that it cannot direct employer to take back.
Recalling his stint as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, he said just before his retirement he brought all cases of suicides to his bench, quashed those cases and directed the government not to book such cases. “I know my direction was illegal as per law, but issued such directions keeping in view of larger interest of the society”, he said.
He deplored that India is the only civilized country which punish a person for attempting suicide after his failure to die him/herself. Such a law exists nowhere in a civilized country, he said. He said he found in many cases even by accident poor workers took food without cleaning their hands after attending works with poisonous materials; such people are being also arrested for attempting suicide.
Former President of PUCL Justice Sachar said that these days he is worried more with security legislations where activists are being detained without bail for longer periods. Such arrests reminding dark days of emergency, he said.
He said ultimately people has to take initiative, stand for their rights and sometimes courts may come to their rescue.
K Satyamurthy, President of INCC presided. Senior advocate K Pratap Reddy and PUCL state president Mrs. Jaya Vindhyala also spoke.