Friday, March 07, 2008

Divan tribute to Justice HR Khanna

A few days ago, Vikram contributed a post about Justice HR Khanna’s demise. Today’s Hindu carries a tribute to the judge by Anil Divan, which details the reasons why his actions are worth remembering, while also providing a personal account of the fascinating story of the ADM Jabalpur litigation before the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Towards the end, Divan explains his motivation in writing the piece:

It is essential for each generation to share with successive generations the experiences and struggles of the past for preserving a constitutional democracy and the rule of law. It is an ever-greening process and Justice Khanna’s role must encourage each one of us — judge, lawyer and citizen — to play our little part in this never-ending battle.

Justice Khanna’s actions have a contemporary relevance across several jurisdictions in this post 9/11 world. He is one of the few judges of the Indian Supreme Court who didn’t simply step aside (as did several of his illustrious peers) when the government of the day cited ‘national security’ concerns. One hopes that our contemporary judiciary will follow his example by seeking to correct the balance in the Court’s woeful record on issues relating to emergency powers, preventive detention, and national security.

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