10:30 AM, Displayed the clock. The gate behind the bench opened and every one stood up as per the convention. Then entered the Judge and as soon as he took his rightful place the court master started calling out the parties. One by one the counsels for their clients appeared and argued. They gave their best. And the Judge gave the suitable orders to meet the ends of justice.
Then like a routine another case was called and I was able to see there at the dais, around four or five counsels were standing and as the arguments went on I understood the facts and got to know it was the writ of Habeas Corpus. Though being a protocol I won’t be able to disclose the facts but I can tell this much that it was contended that the girl being minor is not able to give consent thus marriage is void.
After listening to the arguments Mr. Justice called the girl who filed the application, to question her before passing any kind of order in that case as it was the final hearing. She was called before the Judge and by the looks and physique any one can tell that she wasn’t minor.
Judge started asking the questions but she wasn’t answering them, as she was frightened and afraid she was looking at opposition counsel and at the end of the room simultaneously before answering any question , like she was asking for permissions from some people to answer whatever Judge asked. This made me more curious. To look whom she was looking at, I turned my head and saw around eight guys standing there with their fists tightened. It looked like she was being threatened and her answers were decided by these people.
She first accepted that she was major but when asked by the judge that is she being forced to leave her husband as it was a love marriage and the couple first eloped and did marriage. Further Mr. Justice asked about the consummation of marriage and did everything happened with her consent. She kept silence for around 20 minutes and meanwhile looked at those guys and opposition counsels. She was afraid and in that hall which was totally air-conditioned she was sweating and shivering because of fear.I guess she was frightened of herself getting beaten or her husband whom she loved might be under some kind of threat. Her way of answering clearly indicated that she was coerced to give those answers and by whom I don’t know.
The question here arises that if a newbie like me while being nothing but intern was able to get this thing right, were other people blind or they just ignored because they are used to of these things. I don’t know. Even Mr. Justice was seeing this all but he didn’t do any thing.
He for once did say to this girl to talk fearlessly as nothing can harm her and her life as now she was under protection and he will pass the orders for the same but he was unable to get her confidence back. She was silent and for around 20 minutes courtroom felt like if something has died and we are paying condolence.After 20 minutes she broke her silence she screamed and cried , she in a hoarse voice told that she was a minor and no consent was taken. She further went on to tell the court that there is no pressure on her to live with the people with whom she is already living. She contradicted everything that she said till then
Disappointment was clear on the face of Mr. Justice but he can’t do anything, as he has no control over her statement though everything going on there was evident. As I said earlier as well it felt like something died and indeed Justice died at that very moment and again the societal pressure, so called morals and orthodox mentality won & Law and Justice lost. Though everyone present in that courtroom saw what happened exactly , including Mr. Justice as well but I personally have never seen the judiciary this much handicapped.
The system prevalent in our country and the process being what it is now makes the judiciary helpless. In my opinion the adversarial law system as adopted by our country and as practiced by our judiciary is playing the role of main villain here as whatever is presented in front of the bench is final and thus doing justice is tough in this country.
Till now I opined on this incident as a part of the judiciary and now I would like to comment on the same as a common man and citizen of this country.
As a normal citizen who is not aware of how things work in these departments, even I’d have been disappointed by how things went in this very courtroom and would have definitely cursed the person sitting there as Judge and also would have cursed and abused the whole system. Isn’t it the truth that we all do the same in our daily lives? Isn’t it the truth that we after watching news , without knowing the real incident, the procedure or the intricacies of any system we just go ahead and start judging the system as a whole.
So, let me take an example here:
If we are living in a village and there is only one doctor and we are suffering from headache. We go to him for some treatment but we hide some important things like other things which are happening simultaneously with headache and relying on us he gives us medicine that reacts in our body contrary to his intention or it doesn’t even works now after all this we will stop trusting that doctor and his abilities to cure any disease.
But, after all it is us at fault that we hid some other symptoms from him else he would have given other medicines as well.
The same thing happens in terms of judiciary as you are ought to tell the truth in front of a doctor, you should not lie in front of a judge else in both cases you will continue to suffer. So, by all this what I mean to convey is that :
- We should have faith on the system.
- We should not judge anything or anyone merely on the basis of media reports and even if we do, first, we should try to understand the intricacies and procedures on which the system relies
This being said now I move to ask questions which arose in my mind while all this was happening:
- Is our judiciary this weak that it can not even protect the victims or at least gain their trust?
- Do we need to change the system and practice as far as Adversarial System is concerned?
Now its high time to ponder over the issues concerning reforms…. Whats your take on that.
Kindly comment below , Critiques are welcome