Law of the land…

“PM tells judiciary to stay within limits” screams the headline of “The New Indian Express” newspaper of today, April 9, 2007. The honorable SMS (Shri Manmohan Singh) gave this ‘in your face’ SMS sort of message in the conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts, held in New Delhi on April 8th. Rather a hard message from a soft speaking PM.

Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there is growing tension between legislature and judiciary in India. States don’t hesitate to criticise judgements of the highest court, and statewide ‘bandh’ is not uncommon,  bringing all economic activities to a halt, if judgements aren’t to the liking of the local powers that be.

And across the border, in Pakistan, the drama is more sordid. In a recent interview in the journal ‘Newsweek’, Asma Jahangir, human rights activist / lawyer of renown, terms the PM (Pervez Musharraf) rule there as “a leadership beyond repair”. Imagine putting the Chief Justice of Supreme Court under house arrest… In the Newsweek interview Ms Jahangir says “You even see the Chief Justice on television being dragged by the hair…”.. She says more, but one gets the picture…

The good thing in the Indian context is that the SMS statement was not a crack of the whip. It was made in the presence of Honorable Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, KG Balakrishnan, who, speaking earlier to the PM, had perhaps anticipated the precipitation of  tension, and said “…the judiciary can be subjected to fair criticism if and when the occasion demands, but if the criticism is not legitimate and is irresponsible, it may lead to incalculable damage to the institution of judiciary…”

And so it goes…

In a quite unrelated news, in the front page of the same Express newspaper, there was this follow-up story on the wedding of the season…That of Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar….who stepped into holy matrimony, thus giving their vote to the responsible institution of a formal ‘marriage’….Well, the news-item did mention that the couple had sold exclusive rights of coverage to Hello! magazine, “for a cool 2 million pounds”…

That is not the crux of the news item….The title of the piece is “Liz-Arun disowned by Nayar Sr”…Nayar Sr referred to here is 66 year old Vinod Nayar, father of the bridegroom…

To quote from the news-item – “Now it had emerged that an unseemly wrestling match broke out in the middle of the sacred Hindu ceremony, to the astonishment of the 200 guests, and Vinod Nayar was ejected from his own son Arun’s wedding…” 

One can see some parallels, in the fracas…

Humpty-Dumpty sat on the wall….


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