Courage & Commitment
Courage & Commitment. In the context of the court battles that I had to face as Collector, I have already referred to Government Pleader N Rajeswara...
In the context of the court battles that I had to face as Collector, I have already referred to Government Pleader N Rajeswara Rao in the case involving the government lanka lands and to Justice O Chinnappa Reddy in my last article on the case of obstruction caused to the dalit women’s passage to their easing grounds. In the current article I shall write on the courage of two practitioners of law, K Ramaswamy and P Shiv Shankar, who came to my aid in the case of the dalit women’s right to passage only because they were morally convinced that their support to my cause was right. In this case the Government Pleader concerned was K Ramaswamy. Stunned that the Bench made remarks against the Collector referring to proceedings in an earlier but altogether unconnected case, even before the appellant had started his submissions, Ramaswamy wrote to the Government about these comments by the Bench, indicating that what was said showed that the Bench was prejudiced against the Collector. Judged by any of the highest standards of professional ethics this letter of Ramaswamy was an act of exceptional courage and in doing so he even invited the wrath of that Bench.
My own stand also was that I was a victim of bias and I said this in so many words in my affidavit while seeking expunction of the remarks the Bench had made against me. When we were locked in this battle, this courageous law officer told me that he was ready and prepared to get into the witness box if the need arose and depose on oath on the facts relating to the happenings in the Court. With the battle joined, but the Government in the Panchayat Raj department dragging its feet in regard to defending me or its own case till the doughty SR Sankaran interceded on my behalf, Ramaswamy advised me that I should fight my case on my own and that the appropriate lawyer to fight this case for justice to me was P Shiv Shankar. When I met Shiv Shankar, he readily agreed indicating that he was fully aware of this case and what he thought was injustice done to me. At the end of our discussions, I asked Shiv Shankar about the fee I should pay him. Shiv Shankar replied: “You do not have to pay me a fee for two reasons. Firstly you simply cannot afford it.
Secondly, what is your sin? Going to the rescue of the wronged Harijan women? Why would I take a fee from someone fighting for social justice, in which I too believe?” That I fought my case anchoring it in my knowledge that there was bias against me was on account of just not my own courage such as it might have been but on account of the leadership of these two stalwart lawyers of unparalleled courage and their commitment to social justice. This was seen fully in the Court. During arguments for reconsideration and expunction of the remarks made against me the presiding judge was not inclined to agree and reiterated the stand he had already taken in the original judgment.This elicited a comment from Shiv Shankar that his client would not get any justice from this Court and therefore the matter should be transferred to another court. With the other judge agreeing with the stand of Shiv Shankar, the matter was transferred to another court by the Bench itself. I have given an account of the orders made by the new Bench giving me substantial, if not full, relief in my article last week.