>Will the Judiciary win the case?

It’s not easy being a law abiding citizen in our country. But it’s not impossible to stick to your guns even when the lawmakers themselves make no scruples about breaking every rule in the book.

The judicial system should make it easier for people who want to lead honest lives to be able to do so by making an example of errant citizens. But does that view hold when members of the judiciary too are under the scanner for being on the wrong side of law? Busy fighting off charges of corruption, does the judiciary have the time to play the role expected of it?

That’s a question that many from the legal fraternity spend hours trying to answer among themselves, but it’s also a question they do not like to be raised by those from outside their community.

Strangely enough, though I’m not a lawyer, nor am I trying to be one, I see myself as part of that legal fraternity that takes umbrage when it’s derided in public and print for rampant corruption, long pendency of cases, inefficiency, etc. And why not? Coming from a family of lawyers as I do, I would happily jump into a discussion to defend the legal system whenever an “outsider” draws the battle lines, however unknowingly.

But are our legal eagles convinced that there’s no truth in the arguments that their critics come up with? Can their defense stand up before the substantial evidence that the opposition has garnered against them? The list of charges is long and the clout-wielding lawyer knows chances of acquittal are few. But who can win from a lawyer in an argument?!

That, however, cannot be the moral victory for the legal profession that people like me are looking for. Winning arguments is not winning a case.

On my recent visit to Australia, when I met a student of Law in Sydney, she asked me incredulously whether civil suits in India actually took a quarter of a century to come to their logical conclusion in the courts of law. And I, forced to be honest by nature, was caught on a sticky wicket, trying to make her understand that yes, that was the norm in India, but it wasn’t as bad as it may seem. I doubt she was convinced by the latter bit of my argument, because I wasn’t either.

For all its glorious moments, where the judiciary has withstood political pressure to dole out justice to the common man, we still know we have to win the case for the Indian judiciary.


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