May 29, 2020
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Justice, Please

The open letter written by Justice Markandey Katju, to the judges of the Supreme Court demanding justice in the Ikhlaque case

Justice, Please
Illustration by Saahil
Justice, Please

Dear Brothers Chelameswar, Madan Lokur, Sikri, Lalit and Nariman,

I am sending you this e-mail because I have your e-mail IDs. However, the letter below is for all judges of the Supreme Court, so please forward it to them, including the CJI.

Dear Justice Thakur and all Judges of the Supreme Court,

You are aware that one Ikhlaque was brutally lynched by cow vigilantes in Dadri. Instead of severely punishing the perpetators of this heinous outrage, the police and a local judge are proceeding against the family ­­­of Ikhlaque.

I am sorry, but I can take this no longer. Have the police gone mad? You could not possibly be unaware of the truth, since it has been widely publicised in the media. And yet, like Bheeshma Pitamah turning a blind eye to the stripping of Draupadi, you have chosen to ignore this? Surely you could have taken suo motu action against the magistrate, and the policemen who did this farcical ‘investigation’ to implicate the victim’s family instead of the true culprits, as well as the conspirators. But you preferred to do nothing.

Don’t forget that judges can be put on trial too, as happened after World War II, when the judges who collaborated with the Nazi regime were tried and punished.

I am reminded of Mark Antony’s speech beside the corpse of Julius Caesar, who had been murdered: “ O pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these butchers “ (Shakespeare: Julius Caesar: Act 3, Scene 1).

Well gentlemen, I am not Mark Antony, and I am not going to be meek and gentle with you.

I assure you that unless justice is done, I will not leave it at that. I will call for your collective resignation since, while some of you talk big, the truth seems to be that you are not delivering justice to Ikhlaque’s family, who are being hounded. As the poet Faiz wrote: “Bol ki lab azad hain tere/ bol zubaan ab tak teri hai.”

(This is an edited version of the open letter written by former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Markandey Katju, to the judges of the Supreme Court, which he posted on Facebook on September 11, 8.26 pm. The post, which is available ­online is much more strongly worded.)

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