Tuesday, 16 April 2013

When I became a Judge of Allahabad High Court in 1991 I said in my welcome speech to the High Court Bar Association that equity (that is, human feelings) will always influence my judicial verdicts.

I then quoted the following Sanskrit shlokas of Brihaspati :

" Kevalam shaastram aashritya na kartavyo hi nirnayah
Yuktiheene vichhaare tu dharmahaani prajaayate
Saadhu asaadhu, chauro achauro prajaayate vyavahaaratah
Yuktim vinaa vichaare Maandavyasya chaurataam gatah"

which means :

"The decision should not be given by merely following the letter of the law
For if the decision is wholly unreasonable, injustice (dharmahaani) will follow
By merely following the letter of the law a good man may be declared a bad man, and an innocent man a thief
Just as Maandavya, an innocent man, was held to be a thief"

The story of Rishi Maandavya was that one day he was doing meditation in his aashram when a thief, who was fleeing, threw some stolen goods there, and fled. The king's men, who were pursuing the thief, came to the aashram and arrested Rishi Maandavya, who was taken to the king who ordered him to be hanged.

Throughout my judicial career as a Judge for 20 years it was this approach and these shlokas of Brihaspati which guided me. And in my various appeals for pardon to several persons which I made recently it was this spirit which motivated me


  1. Dear sir.I am really sorry for my immature comment on your facebook account,on which you have shared this article.I always respect you sir very much as a great personality.Plz forgive me sir. And plz unblock me,so i can read your article and solve my confusion( Bhrama)..

  2. Religious texts or beliefs must not guide judgements ...what if a judge orders limbs to be chopped out..there are such punishments prescribed in the Puranas.

  3. Mr. harsha ..in which purana you find this type of punishment????will you plz mention it.And not all the puranas are authentic. some of them are written even in mughal era and unfortunately some of them are full of misguiding concepts.you can easily observe that in time of hindu renaissance our reformers criticized those concepts of puranas.By the way taking a good concept from a religious text can not be considered wrong if that can be purified on the fire of human understandind and scientific temprament..

    1. Refer to http://archanavedantam.blogspot.in/2009/07/punishments-for-ur-sins-garuda-purana.html...In our country we mix up everything Politics,Regilious philosophy,now even judgments.

      If a person repents after committing a crime and is reformed,should a judge still punish him, yes according to our constitution ,however NO I suppose according to Katju.

      The bigger question is should law recognize "paschatapa".

    2. Abhishek,

      when Katju quoted Brihaspati you did not question the context. Harsha says something you want evidence.
      It is really pathetic that you are talking about Hinduism without knowing Garuda Puranam.

      Before talking big things about Hinduism you should know basics.
      Hinduism is not a liberal religion as you may want to project. Punishment is the only way to wash one's sins and nothing else. In Hinduism both good and evil are part of the same system and you cannot be choosy. Religious text are not like philosophies written by Pluto, Marx etc. They are meant to FOLLOW Period. Any deviation is a mistake, if not sin.

      Katju continues to support his idiotic ideas, This time with help of scriptures. He is fooling his readers. He conveniently translated saasthram to LAW.

    3. Mr. Harsha, Garun Purana gives account of punishment given after death not before. I would suggest you to clear the concept about religions. I believe that you do not know as much of law as he knows.

  4. This Shlok look good in Books only. and not apply to today Indian Judiciary.

    With one word of a Women or a Sob Story men(husband) will be jailed. Even she is not coming to Court for decades, still case continued unless husband spend money and approch Higher Court. and India Law treat man guilty till he prove himself innocent and all over world its other way.
    Indian Women today have many such laws like 498A IPC,DV,divorce,maintenance,child Custody,rape law,sexual harassment etc; so they can misuse and harass,Blackmail men.

    In Child Custody, hardly any Fathers get Child Custody, even mother is murderer or Prostitute. but Man(Father) has to pay maintenance for the Child. Even he is not getting just visitation of the Child.

    thats the pathetic situation of India and its judiciary.

    and I am one such Victim of LEGAL TERRORISM.

    my story can be found here http://mynation.net/abio/

  5. Sir;

    You know our Indian Laws, inside out.
    I have listed many laws in favor of Women [http://mynation.net/gender-equality.htm ] which they can misuse than use.

    can you show one such law for Indian Men...?

  6. To what is not said...sir ..i am not trying to project that hinduism is a liberal religion.it is,and truth does not require projection..it is true that if strictly saying puranas are part of hinduism till where it matched with vedas(the one and only authentic source of sanatan or hindu religion)..by the way your concept is little weak.because there is no hell and heaven concept in hinduism as in semetic religions..we have concept of KARMA,PUNARJANM and MOKSHA....and in india religion and philosophy walks together.because both are for AGYAN NIVRITI( end of ignorance) and DUKH NASH( end of sorrow)..now let take the stand of katju sir.he is free to raise his own point,and we are free to question and here his argument is really genuine....

  7. But you also appealed for commutation of sentence of Zebinussa who is an old lady and she has to surrender before the session judge to undergo the sentence and on the other hand sanjay dutt has been given the luxury to surrender after further four weeks. Sir, we would certain like to have your views on it.

  8. To,

    Justice Katju,

    Sub: to bring to ur notice the case of NEET (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test) for medical PG entrance so dat u can end the agony of over 1 lac young doctors.

    Respected sir,

    With all due respect , we the medical PG aspirants of our country , want to state our plight in front of you that the undue pendency of case TC(C)98/2012 in supreme court which is subjudice in the Court of Hon’ble CJI, has become a reason of mass agony for the skillful yet helpless Medical PG aspirant lot of our country ,as we are awaiting the verdict, after which only, the NEET PG -2012 results have to be declared as stated by the Hon’ble Court in Order dated 13/12/2012 and posted on MCI website.

    We believe in the epitome of justice of our country ,hence we entered into the court with our plight only to be stated in front of our hon’ble Court believing immensely in the power of patience and positive approach awaiting for our time to come. But resilience of the young doctors is on the verge of breaking point now , since the long wait for mere hearings in court for such a case where the plight of a huge number of doctors - over 40,000 Junior Residents which have to be appointed after the declaration of NEET results , future of 95,000 PG aspirants who gave NEET PG -2012 , and future of those unfortunate PG aspirants who might not qualify NEET PG -2012 & also those who have to sit for examination in hope for passing the next examination in the coming future ,where number amounts to be more than 1 lac owing to the addition into the total population aspiring for higher Medical education in our country every year, is at stake and grave risk of losing all hopes. We are looking eagerly towards the highest temple of justice for putting an end to this agony of learned skilful youth of our country, and are pleading to give us a fair verdict soon.

    We are the sole sufferer in this tussle over NEET and we feel like abandoned masses now, due to the delay in the hearings. It is Hon’ble Court’s direction only that new sessions have to be started every year by 1st of May but looking to the present scenario, this seems to be a distant dream for us.

    We again want to request you to take up dis serious matter and bring it to notice at the national level to avoid further pendency, taking into consideration the regulations framed by Hon’ble Court itself for strict adherence to time schedule in admission to various courses by institutes, which does not permit admission to PG courses beyond 31st of May every year are followed.

    Thanking You.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Grieving Medical PG aspirant.

    contact : saynotompprepg@gmail.com

    PRESIDENT,Madhya Pradesh Medical Students' Union

  9. That a man could be hanged for recovery of stolen goods from his premises shows the sorry state of legal and justice delivery systems in the olden times in Hindu society. It is like the English hanging children in 17th 18th centuries for stealing petty amounts. The sloka is good though. A justice tempered with foresight, mercy and all-sided enquiry is the desideratum.

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