08, Jan 1995
By Nani Palkhiwala, Prominent lawyer and Constitutional law expert
I am deeply distressed that even the Court did not give priority of priorities to the cause of amity and national solidarity. On a perusal of the papers, in my view the dispassionate conclusion is as follows.
(1) The High Court was in error in not allowing the petition to compel the government to sanction a criminal prosecution under Section 153A and Section 153B of the Indian Penal Code, because there is clearly a prima facie case that the Sections had been violated.
(2) It is true that the Supreme Court is over–burdened with more than two lakh cases pending, but it should have granted special leave to appeal against the High Court’s judgement rejecting the petition. After all, what is involved in this case is the entire future of India and the type of journalism which the state is willing to countenance or condone.
(3) The basic principle of democracy is that no one is above the law. If any government flouts this principle for reasons of political expediency, it is doing irreparable damage to the democratic fabric of the national polity. The Maharashtra government did do that irreparable damage, and that is why public-spirited citizens moved the Court in the matter.