Why we should be proud of judge John Michael D’Cunha

After Bangalore judge’s verdict proclaiming Jayalalithaa guilty, question is, how many more men and women in judicial robes will follow this standard and start putting elected servants of the people in their rightful place

bikram

Bikram Vohra | October 6, 2014


To go against J Jayalalithaa on her turf in a politically passionate state required immense fortitude.
To go against J Jayalalithaa on her turf in a politically passionate state required immense fortitude.

To my mind, more important than the Narendra Modi bandwagon’s huge US success, the Oscar for courage, conviction and commitment goes to a man called John Michael D’Cunha.

He is a judge in the Bangalore special court looking into the disproportionate assets case against former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, and is the first judicial official in the history of our country to remove a sitting chief minister, and an icon in her state, and have her locked up. To go against J Jayalalithaa on her turf in a politically passionate state required immense fortitude. The man risked his life and it is a seething indictment of all our media that no one appreciates the milestone in the realm of justice that man has created.

Sir, I don’t know you but I salute you. You risked your life. It is now incumbent upon the government to ensure your security and safety and that of your family. Instead of having all those black cat commandos ‘protecting’ third-rate politicians, a squad should be there to ensure you are not a victim of harassment of any sort.

Please be safe, for you are really an example to this country of a man who could easily have slipped past the risk and waffled on indefinitely.
Sir, you are a true Indian, an example of those rare individuals who comes out of nowhere and do the right thing for the right reasons. You have put yourself and your family and friends in jeopardy and it would be very sad if India did not appreciate this display of guts in a nation where political icons have total power.

It took 18 years for a man like you to give the rule of law meaning.

Also read Bikram Vohra's earlier column on Modi's US visit: Dear Mr Modi, enjoy a bite of Big Apple and then come home

Many of us may not have much faith in the slow and often torturous route of the Indian judicial system. After all, it has the stickiness of a spider’s web combined with the ‘easy to get lost’ capacity of a maze. There is no way out. Even when you win, you lose.

It is a commentary on the legal echelons that few of them have been vociferous in congratulating the judge for this landmark judgment. Even as more evidence of fiscal arrogance is released and it collides directly with the protests engineered by her supporters, this judge and his family are still not out of the woods. Little is said about where they are or what sort of protection he is being given. Even the central government that currently sweeps with much dexterity and endorses a clean-up across the country is strangely quiet on this score.

There needs to be a simultaneous clean-up of this creaking machinery also. We have undertrials who haven’t had their day in court for years.

The question now is, how many more men and women in judicial robes will follow this standard and start putting the elected servants of the people in their rightful place. Is this a one-off, or is setting a happy precedent where no one is above the common law?

Mr D’Cunha, this is not yet over. Part of it is still a charade, as Jayalalithaa continues to exercise authority from behind bars through her minion appointee.

You, Sir, need to be extra vigilant and expect more gusts of organised violence. Demand to be protected because you have earned that right.

No one knows you, no one knows your history and the way our media is organised in its priorities its spearhead will babble on about diddley but won’t even notice how awesome a verdict you gave and what it must have meant to stand by the book.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Oscar goes to....John Michael d’Cunha.
 

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