The Supreme Court Wednesday said that “extreme stands will not help this country”, and called for “moderation in all spheres of life by all groups and all sections”.
A bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Abhay M Sapre remained critical that “every group and segment of society wants to posture” and that people tend to “build up the tension” by protests and sloganeering whenever a sensitive case is to be heard by a court.
Violence anywhere and not only in court premises is unacceptable, said the bench while adding that “it is easy to blame police”, some time for their inaction and the other times for excesses.
The court was hearing a petition moved by JNU alumnus N D Jaiprakash against the violence that had erupted at New Delhi’s Patiala House court on Monday when JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was to be produced in connection with a sedition case filed against him. Several JNU faculties, students as well as journalists were attacked by a bunch of unruly lawyers.
On a grievance by the petitioner’s lawyers that the police remained a mute spectator while lawyers beat up people, the court said: “It is easy to blame police but remember what happened in Madras around two years ago (when lawyers clashed with police). Moderation is required in all spheres of life…everybody wants to posture. If police intervenes, both sides complain about police excesses and if they don’t, they allege police action…we are not justifying or condoning any kind of violence but police is also not in a comfortable position.”
Senior lawyer K T S Tulsi, arguing for the petition, said that a court cannot function if there is hooliganism and when courts are held to ransom. Advocates Prashant Bhushan, Raju Ramachandran and Rajeev Dhavan also sought the apex court’s intervention, saying what happened at Patiala House court was not an ordinary incident and the surcharged ambiance has threatened the tranquility at trial court.
To this, the bench replied: “It now happens very often when sensitive cases are to be heard. People march, people protest, they raise slogans…at times proclaiming innocence of the accused even after conviction orders are passed by this court.”
It added: “Innumerable times when cases involving high profile personalities and in sensitive cases, large number of people surround court, saying all sorts of things…building tension…it is time that all this should be taken into account…extreme stands will not help this country, forget this case.”
Underlining that it would not ever countenance violence and the people taking law in their own hands, the top court clarified that it would not allow any group to “destabilise” the courts.
“It is not acceptable. If we accept it today, the system will be finished. All of us are patriots and nobody wants to denigrate the mother land but the question is can we allow anybody to take law in their own hands?” said the bench, answering in negative.
Issuing a slew of directives to ensure smooth trial court proceedings at the Patiala House court, the court further said: “We understand the anxiety and concerns…we won’t get into the merits of the case since that will be a matter of investigation and trial..but we will make sure the proceeding takes place in the same court otherwise it will send wrong signals.”