The National lawyers’ Campaign For Judicial Transparency and Reforms, Mumbai


In a country where millions have no roof over their head, the order of the Supreme Court directing demolition of newly constructed, world class apartments, which the common man, a major chunk of which are NRIs, purchased out of their sweat, merely on technical grounds, that too without affording an opportunity to the home owners to be heard is a crime against humanity.

In Mumbai, shanties of 4 lakh slum dwellers were demolished in 1996 in the name of environment on the orders of the Bombay HC acting on so called PILs, while the poor are the real victims of climate change. In doing so, the courts have far exceeded their jurisdiction. The courts act as dictators, forgetting that their job is to adjudicate disputes between parties.Their functions are not in substitution of the Executive. For this sorry state of affairs, the bar is primarily to be blamed, for it has reduced itself to be a body of sycophants.

The judicial functions are divine. The offices of the judges are august and is worthy of the highest of respect. At the same time, in a democracy, citizens have a right to criticize whatever a judge does which is contrary to public interest from the seat of justice. In a democracy, people have the right to protest against unjust and tyrannical judicial decisions, which violate their fundamental rights. The judgement of the Supreme court in the Cochin flat demolition case is undeniably tyrannical and unjust. The extreme haste with which the court insists that demolition be carried out is against common sense and compassion. NLC stands for transparency and accountability in higher judiciary.

It is unfortunate that the Supreme court which had ordered demolition of the homes without notice and hearing to the affected parties, refused to lend its ears to their plea that the order was passed without even affording an opportunity to be heard. That the flats in question involve no violation of CRZ, that even assuming the manifestly erroneous premise that there is a violation of CRZ, they have a right to be heard and it was open to the Municipality to impose a penalty instead of demolition on equitable and humanitarian grounds.

The NLC, the Campaign for home for All, Voice of the People and large number of NGOs have decided to stand with the home buyers of Cochin in their hour of crisis and extend to them all moral, legal and constitutional support.
They are not alone. The country empathize with their cause.

We believe
the State Government which is guilty of abdication of its duty to stand with the victims, the home buyers, will at least now realise their failure to be the protector of the interest of the common man and will even by bringing an ordinance will save the homes.
We are sure that the Writ petitions, review petitions and curative petitions, pending or to be filed will be an effective legal and constitutional means in undoing the injustice done by the Supreme Court.

Mrs. Rohini Amin
General Secretary, NLC