Indian Judiciary should be Indianised

Recently, a request was made by the ‘Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa’ to the Chief Justice of India Dhananjay Y Chandrachud and Sarasanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Dr Mohan Bhagwat that the statue of the Roman Goddess of Justice in the Courts of India be replaced by the Indian Goddess of Justice. On this occasion, a conceptual picture of the Indian Goddess of Justice was also given to them.

The statue of the Goddess of Justice in the Courts in India has been taken from what was in the Roman Empire. It depicts a blindfolded woman who holds a balance in one hand and a sword in the other. The balance signifies that she weighs evidence and facts of the case to arrive at a judgement. The Goddess of Justice is kept blindfolded to symbolise impartiality, irrespective of the position, prestige, honour or title of the individual / organisation representing the plaintiff and defendant. This is the imaginary form of the Deity of Justice that has been prevalent since the British Empire came to India. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in the demand that
the form of the Deity of Justice in Independent India be based on Indian culture; however, this subject should not remain limited to the character of the Deity of Justice. Why have no efforts been made for revamping the Indian Judicial System ? This requires not only a serious thought, but an equally serious action too.

The Indian Penal Code is based on British Law. Lord Thomas Macaulay formulated this Code in the Year 1834. The Law Commission established under his Chairmanship compiled the draft of the Code of Indian Law. The draft became an Act on 6.10.1860, which came into force directly in India on 1.1.1862. It is in force even today.

A change in this Law (that was created by the British to rule Indians) was expected to take precedence in an Independent India; but even this needed change was not given a serious thought – this is the misfortune of Indians.

It’s not that there has been no contemplation on the issue. During the Congress Government at the Centre, a Committee was set up to amend the outdated Laws in India; but no concrete action followed. As a result, even till the Year 2019, hundreds of outdated Laws were still in force. After the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance Government came to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated work on this front in 2014 with some urgency. Many outdated Laws in the Indian Penal Code were abolished under Prime Minister Modi; however, the Judicial System still has many serious flaws. Therefore, assessing the current situation, the Indian Judiciary must undergo radical changes along with the change of the statue of the Goddess of Justice.

Laws based on Indian culture should be in force

Often in Indian Courts, references of foreign Court cases from countries such as USA, France, etc. are considered to pass judgments. The culture varies from country to country and affects the justice process as well. For example, in Europe, wantonness is allowed under the garb of ‘individual freedom’; but, in India it is considered ‘adultery’. In such cases, Laws in India need to be based on Indian culture and the cultural values of our land.

Unfortunately, this is not the case; and consequently, in India, wantonness in the form of ‘live in relationships’, ‘homosexuality’ began to be discussed as aspects of individual freedom like it is in Europe. We have to agree that the Judiciary has become complicated due to many serious issues such as the British-era Laws, millions of pending cases, judgments being overturned repeatedly from the Sessions Courts to the Supreme Court; lawyers’ fees that literally devastates the common man when he goes to Court, and so on.

The Judicial System stands discredited to the point of asking – ‘Is fighting Court cases for years and spending millions of Rupees justice or injustice ?’ Under such circumstances, it is inevitable to study how the ancient Judicial System in India worked.

Take the example of our ancient Indian justice

Many examples of impartial, truthful and prompt justice can be found in ancient Indian history. For example, while Shriram spoke to Deity Yama, Lakshman was ordered to guard the Palace and not let anyone come in, including himself. He was also told that anyone who did so would be given the death sentence. Lakshman, however, had to enter the Palace to inform Shriram about the arrival of Sage Durvas, and thus, save the people of Ayodhya of the Sage’s wrath. Lakshman was sentenced to death by Shriram for disobeying His order, though for a benign cause.

When a falcon told King Shibi that by saving a pigeon’s life, he had deprived the falcon of its food, without a moment’s delay King Shibi provided justice to the falcon by cutting off the flesh from his own thigh and serving it to the falcon. King Harishchandra immediately gave his kingdom along with the ornaments on his body to Sage Vishwamitra, who reminded him of his promise of giving his kingdom in a dream.

Ramshastri Prabhune sentenced another Peshwa to death in the Peshwa’s Court. There are many examples of this nature in the Indian Judiciary. Even though the Judicial System is different from the Administrative System in the present democratic setup, we should appreciate this System of imparting justice.

At present, 80% of the prisoners in Maharashtra’s jails are awaiting Court verdicts. Aspects such as delay in justice resulting in jailing the innocents for years, dragging of cases for years, leading to spending lakhs of Rupees to get justice, has so far literally denied justice to the common man and the poor.

Therefore, besides external changes such as changing the Goddess of Justice, changing the black robe and coats of the Judges and Advocates prevalent in Europe, the European method of saying ‘My Lord’, speeding up the judicial process of imparting justice, etc., the Judges should be knowledgeable in the Scriptures and should abide by Dharma. This is equally important for the Indianisation of the Judicial System at all levels.

If the Union Government takes steps in this direction, it will not only save time and money but serve national interests as well.

The Judicial System stands discredited – ‘Is fighting Court cases for years and spending millions of Rupees justice or injustice ?’