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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Justice Jagmohan Sinha, Dead at Age 87

Few men braved the assault on Bharatiya democracy by Congress party and its Indira Gandhi. Indian Express's Sri Ramnath Goenka is the most prominent. Another is Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha. There is Shanti Bushan on Justice Sinha.

His judgment was an act of great courage. This courage was in line with the courage shown later by Justice H R Khanna of the Supreme Court who also died recently. The courage of these two great judges was in clear contrast to the judgment of other judges of the Supreme Court in the ADM Jabalpur case in which four judges of the Supreme Court except Justice Khanna declared that during the Emergency there was no right to life of liberty and even if people were shot illegally, the courts could not intervene.

It was not that those otherwise able judges really believed that what they said in their judgment was indeed the law. The fact was that fear had overtaken them — and their courage had failed...

Long after Mrs Gandhi’s case had been decided by the Supreme Court, he narrated an incident to us at the golf course.

Justice D S Mathur was the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court in 1975 when arguments were heard by Justice Sinha in Mrs Gandhi’s case. Justice Mathur belonged to the Indian Civil Service before he became a judge of the High Court. Many ICS judges were on visiting terms only with other ICS judges. Justice Mathur had never visited Justice Sinha’s house earlier.

However, one day when arguments in Mrs Gandhi’s case were at an advanced stage, Justice Sinha was surprised to be visited by Chief Justice Mathur and his wife. It was a social visit. Justice Mathur was closely related to one Doctor Mathur in Delhi who was the personal physician of the Prime Minister. During this visit, Justice Mathur told Justice Sinha in confidence that Justice Sinha’s name had been considered for the Supreme Court and as soon as the judgment had been delivered, he would get appointed to the Supreme Court. Of course, Justice Sinha maintained a discreet silence. [A great judge departs- IE]

Unsurprising corruption of Indira shows up, this time, in the form of Chief Justice of Supreme Court! At least Justice Sinha and I have one thing in common!

Justice Sinha was a keen golfer and was possessed of a great sense of humour.


Prudent Indian said...

Hi Chandra!
Justice Sinha's decision in the Indira's case assumed 'historical' importance as the events followed.

In a way Justice Sinha exposed the hypocrisies of Congress and Commies about their so called faith in Democracy. Remember, Communists then supported Emergency.

Justice Khanna, too showed exemplary courage and stood out among the 'committed judiciary' of Indira Emergency Government. Perhaps that was the reason Justice Khanna never made to Supreme court.

May god rest their Brave souls in Peace, Amen!

Prudent Indian