Justice Hosbet Suresh Memorial Lecture to be delivered by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice AP Shah in an event on the Topic -
"The Supreme Court in Decline: Forgotten Freedoms & Eroded Right"

*Live Updates Here* Image
The event is being chaired by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, President, Supreme Court Bar Association. Image
Justice Hosbet Suresh will be posthumously conferred with the Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer Lifetime Achievement Award, 2020.
Irfan Engineer, son of Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, remember the life and works of Justice Hosbet Suresh.

His work included working towards communal harmony, documenting instances of human rights violations and communal riots in India.
The Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer Lifetime Achievement Award, 2020 is conferred upon Justice Hosbet's Family.
Sr. Adv. Mihir Desai introduces Justice AP Shah.

"There are judges who think and decide from their head, some from their heart. Justice Shah always decided from both, the head and the heart"
Desai: Justice Shah speaks Truth to power.
Who better than to address us than him.
Justice Shah now takes the virtual podium.

Justice Shah: I was fortunate to have met Dr. Engineer once... & both men - Justice Hosbet Suresh and Dr. were similar people, both were activists in their own right.
Justice Shah on Justice Hosbet Suresh and Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer.
"Even in the face of physical and verbal abuse which both men had to face, they continued to stand tall"
Justice Shah: What I am speaking on today troubling issue & I want to ring some warning bells. Supreme Court has had a glorious past. The notorious past of the ADM Jabalpur case led us to the realisation that it has gone astray but the 1980's and 1990's reversed this.
Justice Shah: On paper we are a liberal democratic republic and though, We have a system that is the envy of many...... this is all on paper.
Justice Shah: In India today, all the institutions that hold the powerful accountable are destroyed. All this began when the BJP came to power almost half a decade ago.

Parliament has not met even once during the covid-induced lockdown. When it did, question hour was scrapped
Justice Shah: Supreme Court has seen the influence of this Government, many important issues have been kept pending.

No one will deny that the NDA Government has a "less-centric ideology" that we have been indeed used to in the past, but is "right-wing".
Justice Shah: Wherever the Executive has wanted to further its agenda, it has taken a stand - especially in matters of deprivation of rights, so much so that the Court is pushed, but human rights per se have taken a backseat from their agenda.
Justice Shah: We might not be in a state of war but we are certainly in a state of emergency.
Justice Shah: Now, it seems that the Court is turning away from its duties and from its glorious past and leaning towards the Government.

Refers to Sabarimala issue where the court ruled that women are allowed entry into the temple.
"The Centre did not seem to agree," he says.
Justice Shah now refers to the Ayodhya Judgment.
"Despite illegalities effectuated by the Hindus in 1949, the SC rewarded the wrong-doers"
Justice Shah: Many of the so-called excuses by the Court have been of "so-called policies" and non-interference in Executive actions.
Contrast this with SC's reaction to the Solicitor General's bizarre argument that the Migrant's crisis happened because of fake news.
Justice Shah calls the Judiciary a "Mute-Spectator".

Chief Minister of UP said that he will take revenge against people chanting "Azadi" (Freedom!)

The Central Government has targeted those who express an honest view. Anyone speaking against the establishment is implicated.
Justice Shah: The policy which has been adopted is charging or attempting to charge peaceful protestors with the draconian UAPA.
Justice Shah: Politicians making inciting speeches were and are not being acted against.
The one Judge of the High Court (refers to Justice Muralidhar) who even just attempted to hold such politicians answerable, was conveniently..... transferred.
Justice Shah: For weeks, matters involving many issues, for example the Delhi Riots, kept getting adjourned...
When Allahabad HC directed that public posters of accused with details should be removed, SC agreed with the HC but suspiciously, referred the issue to a 3-judge bench.
Justice Shah: Delhi Police has been accused of being partisan.
"Political" motivations of the @DelhiPolice - culprits from majority community allowed to get away.

"Aren't the politicians and police emboldened because of a weak Judiciary?"
Justice Shah: Abuse of UAPA and constant rejection of the Bail applications can be seen in the Bhima Koregaon case where even a thought per se has been used for implicating activists. So called undated document relied upon, retrieved from Varavara Rao's device!
Justice Shah: Sudha Bhardwaj has been in jail for two years, Varavara Rao, a covid patient has not been allowed to get out of jail and seek treatment.
Justice Shah: In the Kashmir case, the SC has abdicated its role as a court. The Court's decision in the Anuradha Bhasin case was laudable but in the internet shutdown case, the principles were not allowed.
*allowed - applied.
Justice Shah on the SC's role in the internet shutdown case of Kashmi:
"This is a case of Justice having been outsourced, which is tantamount to Justice being denied."

"SC seems not wanting to deal with the real-world problems at all," he adds.
Justice Shah: A population of over 1.3 Crore in J&K is suffering because of the executive's internet shutdown.
SC has abdicated its responsibility. Executive is responsible for this is evident and an open secret.
Justice Shah: Today's situation was foreseen by then Chief Justice YV Chandrachud, when he said that the threat is more within than... without.
Justice Shah exemplifies this by referring to the abuse of "Master of the Roster".
Justice Shah: India's situation is such which could have been countered and checked by the Judiciary.

The occasion is now, to rise to the occasion and uphold Constitutional Rights.
Desai: Thanks for this address and I hope you have kept Re. 1 aside.

Sr Adv. Dushyant Dave takes the virtual podium.
Dave: We as citizens have lost our courage to stand up and ask for our rights. Charity begins at home. No one should get violent but we must put pressure on Constitutional Bodies. Nothing but Moral Pressure will recuperate.
Dave: The fallacies in the SC began not in 2014, I'm sorry. But in 1992 when the Judges took it upon themselves to appoint judges in HC & SC - The Collegium System.
Dave: I am not hopeful for the Judges to change. The concept of "scratching of each others backs by judges" that the judges practice, we cannot even criticise it! We will be held accountable for it, contemptuously.
Dave: Judges who are being appointed are not at par.

India's collective character down.
We must remember that we cannot defeat Babur in retrospect, we have to respect history in correct perspective. We must also not stand down from appreciating what Akbar did.
Dave: Rule of Law is singularly absent in our country except for the rich and powerful. We have amazing talent. Indians are second to none in every walk of life and if we are guided by proper persons, we will do brilliantly.
Dave: Globalization is being killed. Liberal Thought being sought to be killed..... What will happen to our pharma sector without Chinese ingredients?
Dave refers to the Nizammuddin Markaz issue, says "how can we criminalise religious exercises?"
He adds, "then in the same way, why not criminalise President @realDonaldTrump's even in Ahmedabad where thousands came?"
Dave: I respect all ideologies - right wing, left wing, everyone has the right to opinions but why are minority rights being compromised on a daily basis? Thats my concern.
Dave: In Constituent Assembly debates, Dr. Ambedkar had said
"the fate of those Muslims who chose to live in India after Partition is in the hands of the majority"

In that context..... responsibility is of the majority community to protect their rights.
Dave: Ultimately judiciary works when Bench and Bar work in tandem.
My question is, where is the Bar today? What, just 5-6 people?
They all come on television and give us sermons but they never speak against Judiciary, because they have to appear before them!
Dave: SC has time and again conducted itself in ways not acceptable. SC failed again.... and again.
Dave: Can you imagine in any country in the world, a judge who has been accused of a Sexual Harassment charge is allowed to continue his term?
Eventually complainant was reinstated. What does that mean? This means she was right, would she ever be reinstated if she was wrong?
Dave: Our generation has failed but the next generation must work on rebuilding India on Constitutional goals and Constitutional Rights.
Dave's address ends.

Senior Advocate Mihir Desai thanks Dave. Calls it a "bold address".
Q&A moderated by Teesta Setalvad begins.
Dave on legal aid: "It is in shambles, access to justice in shambles because of the lack of absence of a legal aid system which is strengthened"
Justice Shah on Collegium system: "It functions like a 'Kabaal' (a club) - which is completely undemocratic & opaque. Against the idea of judges appointing judges. We must have a different kind of system. In current context, I however see no alternate"
Justice Shah on Female Genital Mutilation: I would consider this on the tenets of Constitution. The way it has been dealt with in the Sabarimala case and the Hajji Ali case"
Justice Shah on investigations in Delhi Riots case & Bhima Koregaon case: "The raising a voice" will have some effect. The problem with the UAPA is that the police keep getting extension for filing charges. In Sudha Bhardwaj's case, there is nothing to be even tried.
Justice Shah on what to do as an Advocate when my client is released after 15 days in jail but a BJP candidate is released on the same day:
Jurisprudence on bail was consistent with Article 21 and bail was a rule, jail was an exception. Now, it has turned on its head.
Justice Shah: You will never find a rich and powerful person being given death penalty. Rich and powerful will never be sent to the gallows.
Justice Shah on autonomy to religions over law: When practice amounts to inequality - like say untouchability - then it has to be done away with. I look at secularism from a different point of view. Secularism means that you must respect all religions and Constitution.
Dave adds to this, says "Any religious practice, however old it may be, if it violates constitutional rights, they have to be done away with. Everybody must learn to change. Religion was conceived 1000's of years ago."
Event ends.

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