Published On: Thu, Jul 22nd, 2021

‘Can’t have two legal systems’: SC nixes bail of BSP MLA’s husband

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said India cannot have two parallel legal systems — one for the rich and the other for small men — as it cancelled the bail granted to Govind Singh, husband of BSP’s Madhya Pradesh MLA Rambai, in a murder case.

The courts comprised in the district judiciary are the first point of interface with citizens

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy said: “India cannot have two parallel legal systems, one for the rich and the resourceful and those who wield political power and influence, and the other for the small men without resources and capabilities to obtain justice or fight injustice. The existence of a dual legal system will only chip away the legitimacy of the law.”

The top court took a serious view of apprehensions expressed by the Additional Sessions Judge, in his order dated February 8, 2021 of “the machinations of a highly influential accused evading the process of law”, and said that the Madhya Pradesh High Court failed in its duty to ensure that the sanctity of the criminal justice process was preserved.

The bench added that the high court should examine the apprehensions expressed by the ASJ on its administrative side, so that if they are found to be true, necessary action should be taken in order to secure the fair administration of justice, and also charges made against the judge.

“There is no gainsaying that the judiciary should be immune from political pressures and considerations. A judiciary that is susceptible to such pressures allows politicians to operate with impunity and incentivises criminality to flourish in the political apparatus of the state,” it said.

It further added that the duty also falls on the state machinery to be committed to the rule of law and demonstrate its ability and willingness to follow the rules it itself makes, for its actions to not transgress into the domain of “governmental lawlessness”.

“An independent and impartial judiciary is the cornerstone of democracy. Judicial independence of the district judiciary is cardinal to the integrity of the entire system. The courts comprised in the district judiciary are the first point of interface with citizens. If the faith of the citizen in the administration of justice has to be preserved, it is to the district judiciary that attention must be focused as well as the ‘higher’ judiciary,” Justice Chandrachud wrote in 33-page judgement.

The bench said the Constitution specifically envisages the independence of the district judiciary. This is implicit in Article 50 which provides that the state must take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the state, it added.

The bench said: “This compartmentalisation of the judiciary and executive should not be breached by interfering with the personal decision-making of the judges and the conduct of court proceedings under them.”

However, the top court said judges, while being undeterred in their commitment to follow the law and do justice, should be wary of launching into a diatribe against the state authorities without due care and reflection.

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