Rajya Sabha member of Parliament and senior advocate, Kapil Sibal, has expressed his displeasure over some of the recent judgments passed by the Supreme Court saying he has 'no hope left' in the institution.
"If you think you will get relief from Supreme Court, you are hugely mistaken. And I am saying this after completing 50 years of practising in the Supreme Court," Sibal said.
Even if a landmark judgment is passed by the apex court, it hardly ever changes the ground reality, he added.
"This year, I will complete 50 years of practising in the Supreme Court and after 50 years I feel I have no hopes from the institution. You talk about progressive judgments delivered by the Supreme Court but there is huge difference of what happens at the ground level. Supreme Court gave judgement on privacy and ED officers come to your home... Where is your privacy?" said Sibal.
Sibal was speaking at a People's Tribunal which was organised on Saturday in New Delhi on the 'Judicial Rollback of Civil Liberties' by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the National Alliance of People's movements (NAPM).
Sibal critised the Supreme Court for dismissing the plea of filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several others in 2002 Gujarat riots; upholding the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act which give vast powers to the Enforcement Directorate; and dismissing plea filed in 2009 seeking an independent investigation into alleged incidents of extra-judicial killings of 17 tribals by security forces during anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, now retired, had passed all these judgments.
Sibal had appeared for Zakia Jafri and for petitioners challenging provisions of the PMLA Act.
He also said that 'sensitive cases' are assigned to only select judges and the legal fraternity usually knows beforehand what would be the outcome of the judgment.
"... I do not want to talk like this about a Court where I have practised for 50 years but the time has come. If we don't speak it, who will? The reality is such that any sensitive matter which we know has a problem is placed before certain judges and we know the outcome."
Sibal also questioned the independence of the judiciary saying, "Jis court mein judge bithaye jaate hain (where judges are instituted) through a process of compromise, a court where there is no system to determine which case will be presided over by which bench, where the Chief Justice of India decides which matter will be dealt with by which bench and when, that court can never be independent."
The senior advocate said the situation will not change if people don't change their mindset.
"In India we have mai-baap culture, people fall at the feet of the powerful. But the time has come for the people to come out and demand protection of their rights," he said.
Sibal further said that 'independence is only possible when we stand up for our own rights and demand that independence'.
He also mentioned the Dharma Sansad matter pending in the apex court saying the court had heard the case and sought responses from the governments.
The accused were not arrested and even if arrested, they were released on bail in 1-2 days and then again they continued with Dharma Sansad meetings after a gap of two weeks, he said.