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The Indian judiciary is trapped in its own logic
Lately there have been many media storms over multiple Indian supreme court judges accused of molestation and sexual harassment. Most of the alleged incidents occurred years ago and the victims decided to come out with these allegations only now because, reportedly, they were afraid of the repercussions.

We have seen accused and now retired Supreme Court judges complain of bias from the the apex court itself and how they were not even given a chance to place forth their own version of incidents. We now also see many senior judges and jurists speaking on why media trials must not be conducted and why even a judge has a constitutional right to a fair trial in a court of law.

But why we are in such a scenario where a mere allegation from a woman can erase a person's life long reputation and even force him out of his job? Who are the players responsible for the current state of affairs is a matter of introspection. Also there is a serious need to determine what role the Indian judiciary themselves played in reaching this dangerous judicial cliff wherein gender cases judicial proceedings are all but irrelevant, there is complete and total presumption of guilt on the accused man and media trials are all that but matter.

The 100s of ‘self-regulating’ Indian media entities which do little more than manufacturing news and on camera histrionics can be best left ignored and hence are not a discussion point in this article since ultimately they are in to making profit and nothing sells better than woman victimization.

The dangerous judicial cliff that we are standing now has not been reached in a day. Judicial pronouncements against men in gender areas have been steadfastly deteriorating in quality over the past decade or so. The primal premise of natural justice that a man accused of a crime against a woman is innocent until proven innocent has been abandoned by the law makers and judiciary alike more than 20 years ago.

The premise of women protection, even if it is at the cost of natural justice, had become an area of competition, with the legislature and judiciary both trying to outdo each other to seek departmental accolades and faster hierarchical growth. To understand the attitude of the top most judiciary towards men let us look at some of the pronouncements and logic used over the years which reek of abandonment if natural justice.

A sitting Supreme Court judge mentioned in an publicized conversation, “Bivi jo boltee hai woh sunno (listen to whatever your wife says), as otherwise it could land you in trouble, because if you do not listen to her, you will suffer the consequences.” He went on further to say, “If your wife asks you to put your face that side, put it that side. If she says, put it this side, then put it this side.”

Another then sitting Supreme Court Judge ironically now accused of molestation and justifiably demanding a fair trial said that misuse of 498a provides women with a negotiating space. “Here is a lot of argument that 498A should be repealed because it is being abused. I am sorry to say that even Supreme Court judges have said it openly in courts. Which law in this country is not abused? This [498A] is a law which empowers women. I am not saying it's not abused. Just because it empowers women and gives them a negotiating space, [there are demands] that it be repealed. This is male chauvinism.”

In 2006 the same Supreme Court which now demands constitutional rights for judges accused of molestation said,  “In a given case, even if a doctor who examined the victim does not find sign of rape, it is no ground to disbelieve the sole testimony of the prosecution".

This judicial attitude of presumption of guilt of men in gender cases naturally trickled down to lower courts and slammed tens of thousands of innocent husbands, and men facing falsified allegations from wives and girlfriends in matrimonial, rape and other gender cases.

Boyfriends were convicted of rape when the relationship with the girlfriends soured. The Judiciary even chose to believe that a boyfriend raped a girlfriend ‘over a period of years’. Husbands were asked to pay maintenance to wives even when it was clear that wife was the one who committed cruelty. Courts also asked husbands to pay alimony and maintenance to wives when the marriage was determined to be fraudulent and was a candidate for annulment.

Men were burdened with huge alimony costs and were threatened with jail time if they could not pay up. Public Interest Litigations praying amendment to the ultra vires sections of the domestic violence act which presumes only women are at the receiving end of domestic violence and that Indian men did not need protection from domestic violence were turned down by the same judiciary on the grounds of positive discrimination.

498a (dowry law) Act's misuse is widespread and even as millions of false cases poured in the Judiciary did not use its constitutional powers to make amendments in the law. In totality even as millions of men and families suffered under the illogical pronouncements, outdated sermons and endless delays of Indian judiciary they cared little because ultimately they did not wear the shoe that pinched.

Now, however they are wearing the same shoe, they are facing positive discrimination, they are being held hostage with accusations and are negotiated to relinquish their plum postings after retirement from the apex court. They are craving for a fair trial, claiming they have been disseminated against by a system they helped create. They are being attacked by the same solicitor general whom they requested as their amicus curiae in their gender pronouncements.

When lordships fail to deliver justice the real lord takes over. God has created all humans equal. It is the judiciary and law makers who gave a crime gender, it is they who chose to discriminate against men, it is they who ignored the pleas of innocence and instead resorted to rampant sermoning sitting on their untouchable positions. Guess what your so called untouchable chair is not as untouchable as you presumed it to be and has suffered a well-deserved and long overdue rattle.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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