If you think Supreme Court will give you relief, you are under a grave misconception: Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal

The senior lawyer expressed his unhappiness at speaking ill of the Court where he has practiced in for 50 years, but went on to note that the time had come to say this.
Kapil Sibal and Supreme Court
Kapil Sibal and Supreme Court

Senior Advocate and Member of Parliament Kapil Sibal said on Saturday that there was no hope left in the Supreme Court, given that its judgments do not translate on the ground level.

The senior lawyer expressed his unhappiness at speaking ill of the Court where he has practiced in for 50 years, but went on to note that the time had come to say this.

"If you think the Supreme Court will give you relief, you are under a grave misconception. This I am saying after 50 years of experience," he added.

The senior counsel was speaking at the People's Tribunal held at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi, on the topic Judicial Rollback of Civil Liberties.

He said that after practicing at the apex court for half a century, he had no expectation from it as an institution.

"After 50 years in the Supreme Court, I find that I have no expectation from this institution. You speak of big judgments, but you need to see what is happening on ground. The Court says something, but something else happens on ground. You said that the Supreme Court has given good, progressive judgments - tell me what happened after that on the ground?"

He added that in a country with mai-baap (nanny state) culture, no institution could be independent. He stressed that independence would only happen if we stand up and say that we want it again.

"Today we are not independent, it is the reality of Hindustan."

He emphasised that though everyone speaks of the top court's progressive judgments, they are not being effectively implemented.

"You’ve given the privacy judgment...but when an ED officer comes to your home, where is privacy? Writing on paper is a different thing, but implementing it is different."

During the course of his address, Sibal also discussed how the most dangerous authority in this country was the Enforcement Directorate which had "crossed all limits of individual liberty".

In this regard, he opined that till society’s mindset changes, neither law nor society would change. He emphasised that any institution of this nation could only be independent if the societal mindset changes.

"You will need come to the streets", he underscored.

Sibal said that the truth of the Supreme Court was that all sensitive cases went to certain judges and everyone knew what their outcome would be.

"In a court where judges are made to sit through a process of compromise... where there is no system...where CJI will decide who will hear a case, and when...there is no system...such a court can never be independent. Can it be, you tell me?"

Further, he said that anyone who believed that judges always decided cases in accordance with law was mistaken.

"The fact of the matter is that there are too many things outside the courtroom. They are all human beings, we are human beings...we get influenced. When the entire system is captured...it impacts those who decide cases as well."

He said that this issue needed to be addressed in an entirely different way and that there was no point in analysing Supreme Court judgments when they were not being implemented.

"It has no meaning to the policeman and administer who implements it. When we talk about Section 377, look what is happening! Are they being treated any better? No! Are women in this country treated any better? No!"

Going on to critique the top court's judgments, Sibal cited examples such as the Dharam Sansad hate speech case.

"Dharam Sansad etc., such speeches that make you wonder what kind of society we are living in. When we presented these cases to be Supreme Court, what did it do? Took some steps? Did anyone get arrested? If so, they got bail in one or two days," he said.

He added,

"Accused persons have faith in the judicial system...that maybe he will get bail. But the truth is, he will not! When a bail provision is such that you have to prove to a judge that you are not guilty...How do I do that? This law has been upheld by the Supreme Court. How can you have confidence in such a Supreme Court?"

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