Justice DY Chandrachud on Saturday said cases in which investigations were monitored by courts have shown a better outcome, PTI reported. Chandrachud was speaking in connection with the Pehlu Khan lynching case, in which all six accused were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence by a court in Alwar earlier this week.
“We see this repeatedly… This is one of the great torments of being a judge to have to decide on the basis of evidence as it stands,” the Supreme Court judge said at the Literature Live Independence Day lecture in Mumbai on “Imagining Freedom through Art”.
“And then you find the investigation by the police has been woefully inadequate either deliberately or just as a matter of incompetence, that it is going to result in acquittal,” he said. “Cases where courts have been approached at an appropriate stage and have been able to monitor the investigation have perhaps shown better outcome,” Chandrachud added.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday set up a three-member special investigation team to hold a fresh inquiry and examine the previous investigation to find if there were any lapses.
Chandrachud gave an example of the gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua last year and said a number of steps were taken to ensure the investigation was not “deflected”. However, the judge said, there were limitations to the number of cases that could be monitored by courts.
The former chief justice of the Allahabad High Court also spoke about freedom and art. He claimed freedom had made people intolerant of those who do not conform to the norms. He said: “Freedom has become an avenue to spew venom on those who think, speak, eat, dress and believe differently”.
“The danger lies when freedom is suppressed – whether by the state, by the people or even by art itself,” Chandrachud said. “Ironically, a globally-networked society has rendered us intolerant of those who don’t come conform.”
“We are facing a world of intolerance where art is suppressed, defaced or co-opted,” he said.
The judge said art serves an intrinsic purpose to allow the expression and shaping of identity, and gives voice and narratives to the oppressed communities, and resists the majoritarian hegemony.
“All art is political”, he said according to The Hindu. “Art as a process – sight and form –enhances the understanding of the human condition through alternative processes and representational forms.”
The judge spoke about art from three different dimensions: caste, disability and environment. He then spoke about Dalit literature and gave examples on how it draws its own identity from history and connotations and said: “Any attack on art is attack on freedom”.
“Art invites us to explore the crevices of our mind, instigating self reflection on how we as individuals can make our society a better and kinder place,” he added.
Chandrachud is well-known for his judgements on right to privacy, decriminalisation of Section 377, and the Sabarimala temple case. He is often considered a voice of the dissent at the Supreme Court. He is one of the judges now hearing the Ayodhya case.
The Literature Live Independence Day was also attended by other eminent personalities such as actors Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, educationist Nandini Sardesai, theatre artist Dolly Thakore, senior advocate Iqbal Chagla, journalists Mark Tully, Kalpana Sharma, activist Teesta Setalvad, and ad film director Prahlad Kakkar.
The original piece may be read here.