Sunday, August 03, 2014

Freedom of Speech and Supreme Court Justices

Justice A R Dave of the Supreme Court of India is reported to have made some statements [1] that raised a few questions in my mind. The most important one of them all is this: are there any fetters on the freedom of speech of the justices of Supreme Court of India when they are holding office.
The learned justice A R Dave is reported to have said the following:
“Had I been the dictator of India I would have introduced Gita and Mahabharata in Class I.”
Admitting that he has painted an impossible scenario – he being the dictator of India – this message has no chance of gaining any credibility, do we ignore this rant, though made at a seemingly responsible conclave? Can we really dismiss this as a personal viewpoint and can we assert that it will not have not any effect on his judicial philosophy? Going one step further, can we be convinced that his stated opinions are irrelevant to his outlook on secularism, abiding by the Indian Constitution?
I have my doubts. It is this deep seated doubt that has made me question the limits of freedom of speech of the justices of Supreme Court of India.
Raghuram Ekambaram

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