My experience in Justice Arun Mishra’s Courtroom in relation to the Maradu Demolition case


Maria Nedumpara & Mathews J Nedumpara

My experience in Justice Arun Mishra’s Courtroom in relation to the Maradu Demolition case, though less personal, was just as appalling. A number of lawyers were before his lordship literally pleading for a chance to speak. 350 and odd families had been forcefully evicted in a period of 4 days, in the most inhumane manner. They were driven out of the homes in which they had been residing in for more than 9 or 10 years, the homes which they had purchased with a lifetime’s worth of savings. It would come as a shock to anyone reading this that the order of demolition was passed without ever having heard the residents, the most affected parties, without notice to them, in violation of the statutory provisions and above all, that structures sought to be demolished, as they stand today are legal. His lordship refused to entertain these pleas. Any lawyer who sought to speak of the order of demolition and not the compensation was sternly rebuked by repeatedly saying “Supreme Court’s order is order… there is no going back on the order… don’t waste the time of the court… you are too late”.
To my utter dismay, there was even a threat of hauling a lawyer up for contempt of court for merely having attempted to repeat his sentence. His Lordship failed to notice that an order passed without adhering to the principles of natural justice is no order at all. That such an order rendered without hearing the affected parties and in violation of express statutory provisions is one rendered void ab initio, null and ‘can be challenged whenever and wherever it is sought to be enforced’. I was dumbfounded to see that none of the senior counsels standing before me sought to assert this. I am just 23 years of age, my knowledge of law is limited, I will readily correct myself if I am wrong. Where irreparable loss in terms of national wealth, finite resources and damage to the environment is being caused by an erroneous order of the court, to say that there can be no going back on the order of the court, howsoever pressing the reality, I must, in all humility say, reeks of arrogance and inhumanity. The petitioner’s very right to life has been infringed upon without affording them an opportunity to be heard, structures worth hundreds of crores of rupees are being reduced to rubble causing damage to the environment and generating enormous amounts of waste that the State of Kerala does not have the means to effectively dispose, all this on a mere technicality, when in fact the buildings as they stand today and even on the date of the order, are legal. If not to rectify this great injustice, what else could be worthy of the precious time of the Hon’ble Court.
My dad has often asked me to take initiative in his fight for transparency in higher judiciary. He has often urged me to pen down a few lines to create awareness and garner support, especially from the youth. Like many of his well-wishers, I have only discouraged him. “It’s hopeless, why bother” Right? Maybe not. There is only one God, the God of truth, something my father often says. If enough of us stand tall for what is right, nobody can silence us.

Adv. Maria Nedumpara