Two ‘parallel systems’ justice — one for the rich and the other for the poor — at work in the country, says SC

The Bench said this while quashing the bail granted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to the husband of a BSP MLA.

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that bail granted to the husband of a legislator in Madhya Pradesh is an example of the two “parallel systems” justice — one for the rich and the other for poor — at work in the country.

A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah, in a judgment, also asked the Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice to order a time-bound inquiry into the apprehension expressed by the trial court judge in the case about the safety of his life, saying the “independence of the judiciary is the independence of each and every judge”.

The court quashed the bail granted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to Govind Singh, the husband of a BSP MLA in the State, accused of murdering Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia. The trial court judge had denied him bail.

Noting that the case pointed to a larger malaise of political pressure put on trial court judges, the Bench derided the “colonial mindset” shown by the State and the higher judiciary towards trial courts. Independence of the subordinate judiciary should be protected from external influences and pressures would chip away at the legitimacy of law.

Trial court judges worked in “appalling conditions”. These judges were the first line of defence for the people. A judge expressing fear for his own safety in a case involving the husband of a powerful person did not bode well for the entire judiciary. An important and independent subordinate judiciary was the foundation of a robust system, it said.

The Bench said the High Court failed to ensure that criminal justice was done by allowing bail to Mr. Singh. The High Court had ignored the concerns of the victims’ families about getting justice if Mr. Singh was out on bail. The High Court should have at least allowed the investigation into the case to continue. It had the effect of interfering in the probe on the FIR in the case. The police had also been complicit in shielding Mr. Singh. The Supreme Court expressed shock at the “machinations” employed to protect the accused.


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