Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In contempt

there is a long running debate on the powers of the courts in India with reference to contempt. in a democracy, the courts, like all other institutions should be scrutinized and its working transparent. the decisions of the courts should be open to criticism and investigation of the process leading up to the decision must be allowed. the law and convention force the media to treat the courts as holy cows.
what is the basis for opening up the courts to pubic criticism? courts perform a vital function in society. there is an assumption that it does it objectively and dispassionately (the assumption must give way to certainity). people will have more trust in courts if they are willing to work in the open and accept responsibility for their actions. the credibility of the judicial system in the country will rest on the acceptance of the same principles that govern other democratic institutions and the sooner the courts acknowledge it the better. nobody will deliberately bring down the institution but any scrutiny will in turn go a long way in curbing corruption and the wrong image that we are left with in the absence of access to facts. the previous government was about to initiate steps to revamp the judiciary. it is time for the government to act in the larger interest of society.


  1. sir,but what if the trust that you expect from people does not come? considering the present state of media (sensationalising and all that)do you think that the media would be responsible in its reporting? and if they are not, wouldn't it just cause further problems. maybe its agood thing that the judiciary is considered holy, not the best perhaps, but for the current society better than a judiciary we have no trust in, whose moves we constantly criticise. i'm not sure we, as a society are ready for that.

  2. I accept that every system will have flaws and there will be misuse. But if we find the working of some institution not up to the mark, it is better to change rather than suffer the same. Maybe I should add that, in addition to the judiciary, the media should also be made accountable to public opinion. This will automatically eliminate the excesses and media will function in public interest. naresh rao