Babri Masjid verdict, the judiciary has dug its reputation into an even-deeper hole
Judges often say that a matter has “shocked the conscience of the court” to invoke their extraordinary powers and initiate tough action. Perhaps this expression arises from the idea of justice being impartial and blind.
To reiterate this, the statue of the Lady of Justice that sits atop court buildings around the world is blindfolded and holds a balance.
But this does not imply a cold objectivity. The Constitutional idea of justice is primarily that the weak must be protected from the powerful.
It is a fetter on power. Hence, when something is so repulsive that it shocks the conscience of the courts, the judges are expected to remove their proverbial blindfold and act – even if it means acting partially – in favour of the vulnerable and marginalised.
However, if blindness involves refusing to acknowledge that injustice is being perpetrated, what is shocked is the conscience of the nation.
This shock is not momentary. It opens an abyss into which tumbles public faith that the judiciary will firmly hold the balance in face of power.
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