Two reasons cause me this week to ignore the campaign speeches of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and write instead about the judiciary. The first is a judgment that came from the Delhi High Court last week on the affairs of the most exclusive private school in India that is funded by us taxpayers but provides admission almost exclusively to children of high officials and political leaders. I salute Chief Justice N V Ramanna for his strictures against the Sanskriti School. He said, “What is the necessity for various state governments and ministries including the Defence Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India to fund the school run by officers’ wives?” These ‘wives’ are all married to bureaucrats and the Chief Justice made it clear that he disapproved of them trying to ‘create a separate island for children of these bureaucrats’.
This school has been a scandal from day one because public land and taxpayers’ money were appropriated to provide fine education to the children of men and women who provide for the citizens of India the worst schools in the world. This column has commented on this before, but for the most part the outrageous misuse of public money and public land that went into building the Sanskriti School has gone unnoticed, until now when a judge has sat up and taken sharp notice.
The second reason for my saluting the Indian justice system is on account of the brilliant new film Shahid that tells the tragic story of a brave, young lawyer in Mumbai who was killed for trying to ensure that innocent Muslims did not rot in jail because of falsely being labelled jehadi terrorists. The film poignantly makes the point that the Indian justice system may move at the pace of a bullock cart, but more often than not justice is done in the end.
Now since the Supreme Court itself pronounced — in the contempt case against the former Army chief — that it welcomes criticism, I shall take the liberty to draw attention to serious flaws in the system that show no signs of rectification. The most obvious of these is that the Indian justice system moves so slowly that justice is often so delayed that it stops being justice. We would not need the myopic new communal violence Bill if the courts worked more swiftly to punish those who kill in the name of religion. We