By Devil’s Advocate
All of us agree that the Judges are all powerful and can do what they please. Day in and day out we discuss on the corridors of the courts that there is a need to make judges accountable. The question is who will bell the cat?
Talking about accountability, let us now shift focus the litigation pertaining to the derecognized schools. This matter is hanging in balance for quite some time in appeal before the court of the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. Not only does the matter hang in balance, but also the fate of the 1000s of students and along with them their parents.
Before we proceed let us get an insight into what the matter is really about. Over 2500 schools in Karnataka were given admission on the condition that education shall be imparted in the local language Kannada. An undertaking to this effect was given by the managements, but they ended up violating it following which the schools were derecognized. The single judge bench upheld the derecognition following which the managements came up in appeal.
The matter first came up last week before the Division Bench. The Chief Justice observed that the Bench was inclined not to rule in favour of the managements as they had violated the undertaking. Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph was however loud and clear about one aspect and that was regarding the fate of the children. He said that the primary concern of the court was the students. Saying so he adjourned hearing on the matter to Friday the 15th of June. At 10.40 AM, the Chief canceled sitting. Although no reasons were assigned, it is reliably learnt that his daughter was unwell. Fair enough. The only problem was that the Cabinet which was awaiting a decision before proceeding further on the issue had to be postponed. Students awaiting admission had to wait until Monday for a final decision from the court. Barring this there were no other problems.
Then came Monday. The attention shifted to the court of the Chief Justice. Mid way through the proceedings, he canceled sitting. This time it is reliably learnt that it was due to a bad back.
The key question is whether the fate of 1000s has to hang in balance due to the problems of one man. None of us blames the Chief Justice because he did have a genuine problem. But where is the concern? The matter is not part heard. It could have been posted before another Bench taking into account the urgency involved in it.
The new rules of the High Court state that lawyers seeking adjournments will be pulled up. Why doesn’t this rule apply to the judges? Do litigants and lawyers have to stand helplessly if judges just walk out of their courts?
This is precisely why judges ought to be held accountable. Great powers may be conferred on the judges, but the fact remains that the court belongs to the litigants. If it does not serve the litigants who are made to wait endlessly, then why have a court at all?
Duty before Self and Justice for all-Real and Speedy. Well My Lords don’t just say it, learn to or atleast try and practice it.