It is a well-known fact that exclusive lanes for VIPs (including sitting judges) serve as the safety valve for traffic. If these are not allowed, VIPs may have to burst into embarrassment. And so it was that the Modi government, which has been showing scant respect for institutions, received a stern warning from the Madras High Court yesterday.
According to the Times of India report, which deserves to be read in full:
Contempt of court proceedings? It is about time the government was taught a lesson about the need to respect our most sacred institutions, especially the judiciary, our temple of justice.
The High Court was also very specific in its directive, ordering that a circular is sent to each and every toll collector and making it clear that the order applies nationwide.
How many times have you been stuck in traffic, watching common people stray into exclusive lanes for VIPs (including judges) and wondered how such indiscipline can be tolerated in a civilized country?
Fortunately, those days are coming to an end.
The High Court also did not mince any words about the negligent conduct of the Union Government.
Now the Modi government is known to have a tough hide, but let us hope that this is the rebuke that finally does the trick.
The amazing clarity of thought and impeccable logic from the High Court yesterday is also an excellent example of how direct judicial control can save our institutions. Let me give you another example from a few years ago.
As reported by The Hindustan Times back then, the conference of Chief Justices had recommended in April 2016 that retired judges should be given reimbursement facility for a domestic help. Soon after, the Supreme Court framed the new rules.
The core issue then, as now with the matter of NHAI not building exclusive lanes for VIPs and judges, was “embarrassment.”
As a common citizen of India, no words of mine are enough to convey the sense of gratitude that I feel towards the Madras HC for this historic order to NHAI. With folded hands, I can only request that our lordships should step in and also provide exclusive courts that will function 24 x 7 to hear appeals from tribal rights activists who might have been wrongfully arrested by our imperious government.
Otherwise, there is the possibility that our tribal rights activists might have to wait in line with crores of other cases and appeals waiting to be heard. And wouldn’t that be totally embarrassing?
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.