CJI and compassionate governance

When he salutes protesters, calls for mindset change, will politicians take note?

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | January 22, 2013



When people – students and housewives, slum-dwellers and the south Delhi set – came out in the streets demanding justice for the gangrape victim, only one factor was missing in the state’s response: empathy. The first response from those elected or appointed to oversee law and order was obviously to play the blame game. When the prime minister spoke up a week later, a couple of extra words after the formal end of the address revealed what was lacking in it: empathy. Against that backdrop, the chief justice of India (CJI), Altamas Kabir’s comments stand out in contrast for its compassion.

“Whatever happened that day (December 16) was not only a crime against an individual. It was a crime against women in general and society in general," CJI Kabir told the sixth national conference on implementation of protection of women from domestic violence in New Delhi on Monday. If that sounded like platitudes our politicians mouth, this is what came next: “What happened that day was not something new. But it caught the imagination of the people and led to a tremendous upsurge and this upsurge, as I have said earlier also, was fully justified. What started as a protest, as a mark of showing one's anger, it was all genuine, absolutely necessary.”

Later, talking to media persons on the sidelines of the conference, he added, “I salute everybody who took part in the protests. I wish I could have been there but I can’t.”

So, there is at least one person around the Raisina Hill, and no less than head of an organ of the state, who not only does not see protesters as enemies of the state but also identifies himself with them. He couldn’t be there among the protesters but his words have done the job.

Don't miss the cover story of the latest issue of Governance Now: ENEMIES OF THE STATE

Moreover, this empathy of the head of the judiciary is not limited to words alone. He along with the Delhi high court chief justice have been instrumental in ensuring speedy justice by establishing a fast-track court to hear cases of crimes against women.

Speaking from the same compassion for the victim that made him salute protesters, he also spoke of a need to change the mindset of the judicial officers who take up such cases."Many of us are quite insensitive. Many of us look to the strict letters of the law," he said. He had told judicial officers to be sensitive to problems related to women and children, he said.

Call it sympathy, compassion or sensitivity, isn’t that the only thing missing in governance, in what protesters call ‘system’? Imagine the heads of the other two organs of the state, the executive and the legislature, brining this element to their work, and there would not be any need to “change the system” which of course is not going to happen without ‘systematic’ procedures to go about it.

For that, just as with the judicial officers, the powers that be will have to change their mindset and look at people as people instead of taking them as mobs.

Comments

 

Other News

Battle over cattle, Delhi govt schools lead the way and, why we must return to Gandhi & Tagore

On May 23 this year, the ministry of environment issued ‘Rules on prevention of cruelty to animals (regulation of livestock market)’ with the purported aim of regulating animal markets. When one reads the rules – notwithstanding the lame efforts from union ministers to issue clarificati

BEML unveils 9 MW capacity windmill park

  BEML, a mini ratna category-1 enterprise of the defence ministry, has set a target of using 100 percent renewable energy for its own consumption.   In this connection, BEML’s 9 MW Windmill Park installed at Bagalkot District in Karnataka was recently

BHEL registers increase in intellectual capital

  Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), a Maharatna enterprise, has recorded nearly 14 percent growth in its intellectual capital in 2016-17 fiscal. During the year, a record 508 patents and copyrights were filed by the company, translating into filing of nearly two patents/copyrights

NALCO partners with CII, Odisha for outreach programmes on GST

  National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) has joined hands with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Odisha, to organise outreach programmes for industries and other stakeholders on GST implementation.   Series of interactive programmes are being

EPFO inks MoU with HUDCO for Housing for All by 2022

  Taking prime minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Housing for all by 2022’ forward, Employees` Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has amended the EPF Scheme, 1952 to provide assistance in acquiring affordable houses to the EPF members by allowing withdrawal from PF to

IndianOil LPG import terminal to reduce refill backlog in Kerala

IndianOil is currently transporting bulk LPG from Mangalore to various LPG bottling plants in north Kerala through about 100 bullet trucks every day, which ply on narrow highways. A pipeline connecting the proposed LPG import terminal to Kochi Refineries Limited and the LPG bottling plants at Udayamperoo



Video

पाकिस्तानी सेना कैमरे में कैद करना चाहती थी ये हमला

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter