A tale of an unruly MP and a tough HC judge

A tale of an unruly MP and a tough HC judge
Highlights

Though some of our honourable Members of the Parliament have to their credit the dubious distinction of being the hard-core criminals and rowdy-sheeters, now comes here a case of the “first of its kind” involving of our home-grown Congress Parliamentarian V Hanumantha Rao,

Though some of our honourable Members of the Parliament have to their credit the dubious distinction of being the hard-core criminals and rowdy-sheeters, now comes here a case of the “first of its kind” involving of our home-grown Congress Parliamentarian V Hanumantha Rao, who on April 18 behaved in the court hall of the Hyderabad High Court which was aptly described by the Acting Chief Justice Dilip Bhonsle as “unruly.”

According to the media reports, Hanumantha Rao, who filed a PIL in the High Court seeking the transfer of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, not only shouted in the loudest voice from the visitors’ area in the court hall but also identified himself as a member of the Parliament. After doing so, he advanced to the area meant for the lawyers in a bid to address the court, despite having engaged a lawyer who was already doing his job. Enraged by the total disregard for the procedures of the High Court by the MP, the acting CJ called in the Marshalls. It was only after this, the arrogant MP left the court hall in a huff. Even after such an ugly behaviour of the petitioner, the High Court magnanimously admitted his plea and issued notices to the respondents.

Now the mute question that arises is: whether such an undisciplined behaviour of the two-time MP and a former State Minister was due to his “ignorance” or as a part of well- planned strategy to belittle the judiciary. In either case, the High Court ought to have taken the suo motu cognizance of the offence and initiated contempt of the court proceedings besides dismissing his petition solely on this ground. The people in higher position have an added responsibility to be extra cautious while dealing with public bodies because people watch their behaviour and emulate them. Therefore, even now it is not too late, to haul up the erring MP and teach him a lesson or two in the subject of court etiquette.

Battle royale is okay, but please spare the Prez The Constitution of India has often
become the focal point of debates, discussions and dissents. Its various provisions have been the subject matters of judicial interpretations and acrimonious debates in the courts. Therefore, the legal pundits were not at all surprised or angry with the observation of the Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph and justice Bist that the President of India was not a king and he, too, was fallible. Of course, to be fair with these judges, it must be added that they also included the judges along with the President.

These remarks came during the hearing of the case against imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand under Article 356. Now that the matter has been sub judice before the apex court in appeal, it is in the fitness of the things that merits of the judgment delivered by the High Court are not considered in these columns. Let the law take its own course in this regard.

Still, the High Court’s sermon reminding the people that the President of India was not a king, deserves to be considered with due seriousness by all the right thinking people. Firstly, all the 130 crore-and-odd citizens of the country are well aware of the fact that India is a democratic country and the kings and queens have become a part of the history. Secondly, notwithstanding the fact that the President of India is not the king, he has been bestowed with the special status and special powers by the people through the Constitution. For example, he is the first citizen of the country, he is the head of the government and supreme commander of the defence forces etc. Therefore, he enjoys the power of granting mercy to the convicted persons.

In protocol, the President comes first followed by the Vice President. Judges of the Supreme Court are administered the oath of office and secrecy by the President while the respective State governors administer the oath of office and secrecy to the judges of the High Court. In nut shell, despite there being the power of the High Court and the Supreme Court to have a judicial review, these courts ought to be rather slow and cautious in doing so. The extraordinary powers bestowed upon the President are exercised with due caution and due deliberations with the Cabinet and high-ranking officials. In Geeta Chopra’s case it was held by the apex court that the mercy power was to be exercised by the President following the due process of law. Thus, it is clear that the President does not have any exclusive personal right to use these powers in an arbitrary manner at his personal whims and fancies.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the President is a titular head of the nation and is in no way comparable to a dictatorial monarch. The High Court may have good intentions in proclaiming the President as a human being with normal human weaknesses like other human beings, but it has also the potentials to send a wrong message to the people that the judiciary is superior to the office of the President of India! Such a message would send a dangerous singnal in the country for the Constitution envisages a scheme of harmony or conciliation and not the confrontation between the three pillars of democracy.

A dangerous move by Mexican President
If the proposal sent to the Senate by the Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto is approved, the law relating to Marijuana would be diluted and necessary amendments to the General Health Law and the Federal Penal Code would be carried out.

After the changes in the laws, the import and use of Marijuana, a narcotic drug would be permitted in Mexico for medicinal purposes and research.

In other words, under medical advice the use of Marijuana for personal consumption would be permitted. Further, it would not be a crime to possess Marijuana to the extent of 28 grams and what’s worse; those convicted for possessing Marijuana up to 28 grams shall be released from jails. The move comes at a time when the country has been in the grip of debt trap. But the way chosen by the Mexican government is very dangerous because it would make the country a safe haven for the drug peddlers.

DR H C UPADHYAY

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