Supreme Court liberals dealing with personal freedom issues, says former judge Madan B Lokur

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The Supreme Court has been liberal on habeas corpus requests: Judge (retired) Madan B Lokur

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court was liberal when it ruled on personal liberty issues and that is the way it should be, (retired) Judge Madan B. Lokur said on Friday.

He said that the writ of habeas corpus is important and should be issued liberally because when you talk about preventive detention you are talking about putting a person without trial. A writ of habeas corpus is filed in the event that a person is detained in suspected unlawful or unlawful detention.

Speaking at a webinar titled “ Defending Liberties ” hosted by the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and Women in Criminal Law Association, he also supported the idea of ​​daily special acts trials and warned ideology coming in the way of justice. profession.

“In the past, there were very few instances where a person would not have been repaired under a writ of habeas corpus. The courts have even said that even if one habeas corpus application has been rejected, another can be filed. It’s not as if once the writ request is rejected, it’s the end of the road, ”he said.

Justice (ret’d) Lokur said the Supreme Court was liberal on habeas corpus petitions, and that is how it should be and added that the higher court even said a person did not have to file a request and that it could even be a postcard. .

Judge Lokur recalled that while serving in Gauhati, he even received a text message alleging illegal detention in prison as habeas corpus.

In the webinar, hosted by legal portal Bar & Bench, Judge Lokur interacted with advocates Tara Narula, Shalini Gera, Sowjhanya Sukumaran and Warisha Farasat.

Regarding whether it was possible to incorporate the need for daily trials in cases falling under special laws (such as the Law on the Prevention of Corruption and the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering) where the period of detention is longer, he replied in the affirmative and said “Yeah, we have to do it” and added, however, there may be practical difficulties.

Lawyer Narula asked about the media lawsuit and spoke about the death case for actor Sushan Singh Rajput and how WhatsApp chats have been placed in the public domain.

“How do we cross the line? Are we fighting fire with fire?” She asked.

To that, Judge Lokur said there were two answers to this.

“First, you have to fight the fire with water. Ask the court why this is happening? Why are WhatsApp messages etc. coming into the public domain?

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“If the court does nothing, then maybe fight fire with fire. But first, go to court. Even in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, where do the WhatsApp messages come from? They must be from prosecution agencies or someone else, ”he said. , adding that the court is required to ensure a fair trial. If not, maybe fight fire with fire.

Lawyer Sukumaran said the term “ activist lawyers ” is often used as an insult and scathing remarks are made by court judges and even orders are written in an attempt to throw a sprinkle on why a particular lawyer would take on a particular case and that becomes particularly difficult. for women lawyers.

She added that some people are of the opinion that you can be a lawyer or an activist and not both and asked what can be done to overcome this problem.

Lawyer Farasat also said it was a worrying trend over the past two years and said ideology must be put aside and the bar must come and support it.

Judge Lokur said: “Overall, ideology shouldn’t get in the way of your professional mission. If it does, that means you’re not going to stand up for someone who doesn’t share your ideology. ideology and profession should be separated.

“There may be instances where you might find where it’s better to sacrifice … to maintain the ideology, it should happen on very, very rare occasions,” he said.

Referring to remarks made by some judges criticizing lawyers, he said it is very unfair to target a lawyer on the basis of ideology or because the lawyer presents himself for a particular type of client.

Lawyer Gera said she believes there has been a dramatic change in the way the state treats lawyers who defend dissidents. People are being targeted as “jihadist lawyers” and “Naxalite lawyers,” she said.

On the question that if Judge Lokur thinks the way women and men are treated at the bar is different ?, he said when he started his career, there were very few female lawyers.

“They were tolerated if you understand what I mean. But over the years, starting in the 1970s, female lawyers increased. The number of female judges increased. In 1978, the first female lawyer was appointed a judge. .

“There has certainly been a change. If they were discriminated against, I don’t know. In the Supreme Court, I don’t think there was discrimination. I was disconnected from the High Court of Delhi, I would be very surprised if someone said there is discrimination, ”he said.

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