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Unequal justice: did the Madras HC just rob us of a fundamental right?

Justice-only-for-the-affluent

Photo: Catch News 

A poor man in Tamil Nadu seeks to get a caste certificate for his sons. When he is denied, he moves court. But he cannot afford a lawyer so he chooses to appear as a petitioner-in-person. In legal parlance, a “petitioner-in-person” is an adult who is capable to plead his case and aid the cause of justice. It is a standard rule, an essential part of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Only the Madras High Court doesn’t agree. In a brief 4-page  order in the case of P Balasubraniyan v Collector, Karur District, the court, on 16 June, ruled that allowing a petitioner-in-person to plead his case amounted to giving him the status of an advocate, as defined in the Advocates Act, 1961.

By mandating that only a person “practising the profession of law” can plead a case, the court has robbed us of a fundamental right. This is troubling given that free legal aid in this country is hardly  effective, especially in criminal cases. The crux of the matter is access to lawyers. As senior lawyer Kaleeswaram Raj pointed out, “Legal aid for the poor doesn’t enable the poor to choose the lawyer, nor the lawyer to choose the poor. Quality advocacy is an expensive commodity in the legal market.

UNEQUAL JUSTICE?

There have been instances when petitioners-in-person have indulged in theatrics. In August 2014, for example, a nonagenarian demanded in the Supreme Court that the chief justice alone hear his plea. His petition, of course, was tossed out.

But, overwhelming, people are compelled to plead their own cases because they can’t pay for lawyers. Take Shambhu Nath Mukherjee, for example. A foreman at Delhi Cloth Mills, he would often be seen at the city’s high court, drafting petitions in the shade of a tree and arguing his cases in courtrooms – all because he couldn’t afford a lawyer. By the time he got a verdict, he was dead. It is debatable whether a “proper lawyer” would have secured him justice sooner. But it’s undeniable that the agency of petitioner-in-person allowed him a chance to fight.

Also Read: SC judges enjoyed lavish state hospitality in MP. Here’s why it’s troubling

It gets worse for the poor petitioner. According to the Madras High Court, “Where any party is dissatisfied with the decree or order as settled by the Registrar, the Registrar shall not proceed to complete the decree or order without allowing that party sufficient time to apply by motion to the Court, which shall not exceed 90 days from date of order of the Registrar failing which the Registrar will proceed to settle the decree.”

“Abuse of petitioner-in-person: in 2014, a nonagenarian demanded that the CJI alone hear his petition”

In effect, the court has transferred judicial powers to an administrative authority. What if a person can’t pay for a lawyer to appear before the registrar?

As Justice William Brennan of the US Supreme Court said, “When only the rich can enjoy the law, as a doubtful luxury, and the poor, who need it most, cannot have it because its expense puts it beyond their reach, the threat to the continued existence of free democracy is not imaginary but very real because democracy’s very life depends upon making the machinery of justice so effective that every citizen shall believe in its impartiality and fairness.”

It is self-evident that no civilised nation can allow the access to justice to become the sole preserve of the rich and the powerful. Sadly, the Madras High Court seems to have done just that. http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/unequal-justice-did-the-madras-hc-just-rob-us-of-a-fundamental-right-1466774223.html/fullview

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  1. VERY TRULY SAID :http://www.indianfrontliners.com/…/30302-sc…/82-notice-board. WE ALL THE ENLIGHTENED AND LAW ABIDING CITIZENS OF INDIA, AFTER 70 LONG YEARS OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE, TO MAINTAIN PROFESSIONAL ETHICS WHICH IS PRIME ,” IN THE LEGAL -PROFESSION FIRST”, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER PROFESSIONAL ETHICS ARE MAINTAINED IN OTHER DISCIPLINES, AS MANY COMMON CITIZENS ARE SUFFERING LIKE THE GENUINE EX-SERVICEMAN CHANDRAN OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY ALSO SON OF AN EX-SERVICEMAN, SERVED IN ROYAL INDIAN ARMY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, IN ARTILLERY. SUCH NEGLECT, DISCRIMINATION, EXPLOITATION AND VICTIMIZATION SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED BY ANY INDIAN, AFTER 70 LONG YEARS OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE OR ELSE THE BRITISHERS WERE FAR BETTER IN DEALING WITH HUMANITY DURING THE PRE-INDEPENDENCE PERIOD. WHAT WAS THE NEED FOR INDEPENDENCE, STRUGGLE IN THE NAME FOR FREEDOM AND MAHATMA GANDHI BE MARTYRED. SUGGESTED FREEDOM FOR SUBORDINATES IN DEFENCE TO AVAIL INDEPENDENCE BY SENIOR DEFENCE OFFICERS NOT EXPLOITING THE SITUATION IN CLOSED QUARTERS WITHIN THE RESTRICTED DEFENCE AREA BY SENIOR DEFENCE OFFICERS EYEING ON THE YOUNG WIVES, DAUGHTERS BY RAPE, MOLEST ETC. WHICH NEEDS TO BE REPORTED DURING THIS MODERN AGE OF COMMUNICATIONS WITH PORTABLE GADGETS AND ACTION TAKEN THAN MERELY ON THE CIVILIAN CITIZENS. FAIR ACTION NEEDED TO ALL AND NOT BE BIASED TOWARDS SENIOR DEFENCE OFFICERS WHO ALSO HAD A HUMBLE BEGINNING OF 10+2 OR GRADUATE ENTRY INTO MILITARY SERVICE., AS BIASED IN THE ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL EMPLOYING RETIRED DEFENCE OFFICERS IN PAR WITH THAT OF AN HIGH COURT JUDGE , A CONSTITUTIONAL ASSIGNMENT, WITHOUT THE BASIC DEGREE IN LAW WHILE BRIGHT p.g. IN LAW DEGREE HOLDERS SIMULTANEOUSLY PLACED, LAW/LEGALCLERKS & ASSISTANTS. WHAT A SHAME TO NATIONAL GOVERNANCE DURING THIS MODERN INNOVATIVE AGE. THE WHISTLE-BLOWERE DRAGGED TO HIS 70 YEARS WITH DEPRIVE OF HIS BASIC CLAIM SINCE THE A.F.T. CHENNAI BENCH, SUITABLY PLACED IN A SECLUDED PLACE NEAR THE CHENNAI AIRPORT AS THE COLLECTION CENTRE, FOR COLLECTING THE BRIBES CONSOLIDATIVELY THROUGH ADVOCATES LINKED WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE members of the Bench FROM THE POOR SOLDIERS AND THEIR WIDOWS AND DEPENDENTS. WHAT A SHAME TO THE NATION AND THE JUDICIARY TO WHOM MY EARNEST URGE IS ALL THE COURTS IN INDIA OF OUR NATION TO COME UNDER THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA IF TO SAY IT IS THE APEX COURT. INTERACTION NEEDED FOR FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE FROM THE LIKE-MINDED CITIZEN.
    2 Years Ago
    See your memorieschevron-right
    SC asks Centre to bring law to regulate legal profession, cap lawyers’ fees
    Frontlinerskuwait,Frontliners,IndianFrontliners, kuwaitfrontliners,association in kuwait,…INDIANFRONTLINERS.COM
    This action by OUR HONOURABLE SUPREME COURT on Govt. of India, ought to come when several fake advocates were exposed by the regulatory authority Tamilnad & Pondicherry Bar Association of India,Chennai. NEVER TOO LATE AS THE NATIONAL PROGRESS AND PROSPERITY IS AFFECTED BY SUCH CORRUPTED POLITICIANS.
    WE ALL THE ENLIGHTENED AND LAW ABIDING CITIZENS OF INDIA, AFTER 70 LONG YEARS OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE, TO MAINTAIN PROFESSIONAL ETHICS WHICH IS PRIME ,” IN THE LEGAL -PROFESSION FIRST”, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER PROFESSIONAL ETHICS ARE MAINTAINED IN OTHER DISCIPLINES, AS MANY COMMON CITIZENS ARE SUFFERING LIKE THE GENUINE EX-SERVICEMAN CHANDRAN OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY ALSO SON OF AN EX-SERVICEMAN, SERVED IN ROYAL INDIAN ARMY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, IN ARTILLERY. SUCH NEGLECT, DISCRIMINATION, EXPLOITATION AND VICTIMIZATION SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED BY ANY INDIAN, AFTER 70 LONG YEARS OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE OR ELSE THE BRITISHERS WERE FAR BETTER IN DEALING WITH HUMANITY DURING THE PRE-INDEPENDENCE PERIOD. WHAT WAS THE NEED FOR INDEPENDENCE, STRUGGLE IN THE NAME FOR FREEDOM AND MAHATMA GANDHI BE MARTYRED. SUGGESTED FREEDOM FOR SUBORDINATES IN DEFENCE TO AVAIL INDEPENDENCE BY SENIOR DEFENCE OFFICERS NOT EXPLOITING THE SITUATION IN CLOSED QUARTERS WITHIN THE RESTRICTED DEFENCE AREA BY SENIOR DEFENCE OFFICERS EYEING ON THE YOUNG WIVES, DAUGHTERS BY RAPE, MOLEST ETC. WHICH NEEDS TO BE REPORTED DURING THIS MODERN AGE OF COMMUNICATIONS WITH PORTABLE GADGETS AND ACTION TAKEN THAN MERELY ON THE CIVILIAN CITIZENS. FAIR ACTION NEEDED TO ALL AND NOT BE BIASED TOWARDS SENIOR DEFENCE OFFICERS WHO ALSO HAD A HUMBLE BEGINNING OF 10+2 OR GRADUATE ENTRY INTO MILITARY SERVICE., AS BIASED IN THE ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL EMPLOYING RETIRED DEFENCE OFFICERS IN PAR WITH THAT OF AN HIGH COURT JUDGE , A CONSTITUTIONAL ASSIGNMENT, WITHOUT THE BASIC DEGREE IN LAW WHILE BRIGHT P.G. IN LAW, DEGREE HOLDERS SIMULTANEOUSLY PLACED, LAW/LEGALCLERKS & ASSISTANTS. WHAT A SHAME TO NATIONAL GOVERNANCE DURING THIS MODERN INNOVATIVE AGE. THE WHISTLE-BLOWERE DRAGGED TO HIS 70 YEARS WITH DEPRIVE OF HIS BASIC CLAIM SINCE THE A.F.T. CHENNAI BENCH, SUITABLY PLACED IN A SECLUDED PLACE NEAR THE CHENNAI AIRPORT AS THE COLLECTION CENTRE, FOR COLLECTING THE BRIBES CONSOLIDATIVELY THROUGH ADVOCATES LINKED WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE members of the Bench FROM THE POOR SOLDIERS AND THEIR WIDOWS AND DEPENDENTS. WHAT A SHAME TO THE NATION AND THE JUDICIARY TO WHOM MY EARNEST URGE IS ALL THE COURTS IN INDIA OF OUR NATION TO COME UNDER THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA IF TO SAY IT IS THE APEX COURT. INTERACTION NEEDED FOR FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE FROM THE LIKE-MINDED CITIZEN.
    “A ‘YES MAN’ is a dangerous man. He is a menace. He will go very far. He can become a Minister, a Secretary or a Field Marshal, but he can never become a leader nor, even be respected. He will be used by his superiors, disliked by his colleagues and despised by his subordinates.
    So, discard the ‘YES MAN’.”- Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw
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    Chandran, we care about you and the memories that you share here. We thought that you’d like to look back on this post from 2 years ago.

    Chandran Krishnan Peechulli
    6 December 2015 ·
    We all look forward for “JUDICIAL REFORMS” for JUSTICE to reach the common people, while lacking after 68 years of Independence. Neglect and disregard to genuine common woes even after reporting.
    Our new generation of lawyers should take the lead of initiation and hard work to absorb the past experiences (good and bad) for setting a quality benchmark in court processes and management while in this modern-age, technologically making rapid developmental-changes. We, all should extend our all support and cooperation, encouraging and motivating the young budding lawyers by sharing our rich experience through day to day inter-actions and elder’s blessings for them to achieve ” FAST JUSTICE ” or-else it’s a disgrace, more particularly to the society of qualified lawyer professionals.
    We all need to prove JUDICIARY is really prime in professional and altogether in human society, in the eyes of the common people( who depend on them as a last resort, when exploited by the rich, mighty and the highly Influenced ) seeking “JUSTICE” .
    We all need to call for “True recognition of the meritorious in society”.
    General Secretary, Chennai Society for Fast Justice, Regd.

    • REMINDER Dt. 22-02-2017 Now addressed to: Dr. Malini V. Shankar, DG(S) [email protected]
      Shri Amitabh Kumar, Addl. DG [email protected] [email protected]
      Shri B. Ratna Sekhar, CS [email protected] [email protected]
      To PERSONAL & CONFIDENTIAL. Dt. 07-11-2016
      Addressed to: Shri. Deepak Shetty, I R S., D.G.Shipping,
      O/o. The Directorate General of Shipping, Govt. of India
      9th Floor, Beta Building,i-Think Techno Campus, Kanjurmarg (East), Mumbai – 400 042 ( India )Tel. No. : 91-22-25752040/41/42/43/45 Fax.No. :91-22-25752029/35; Email : [email protected]

      Subject: RENEWAL of C O C NCV Class 3 MOTOR

      Respected Sir,

      Please find advanced herewith my outstanding letter of request dated the 24th Feb. 2016, to consider renewal of my Indian Certificate of Competency NCV3 Motor, which was illogically and unreasonably held up, saying that the certificate is for employment on coastal vessels though SEA GOING, while self, having served on foreign going vessel s on Ocean-Going larger vessels, which proves my competence with pragmatic approach, which is much superior gained after rigorous tests for foreign- Certificate of Competency. * Not for Lakes or in ponds, but for sea-service only.

      I am now 70 years old with over 40 years of deep sea service having started my career in an early age at T.S. Mekala from 1960. One can imagine the quantum of foreign-exchange earned for our country. I have not asked for any charity or bounty but only for “RENEWAL OF MY CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY”
      WHICH THOUGH IF SEEN, IS MUCH INFERIOR WHEN COMPARED TO SERVICE RENDERED ON FOREIGN -going FLAG VESSELS OF HIGHER MAGNITUDE, with higher qualitative benchmark and better productivity. If in case my request for renewal, is not considered, I may be constrained to seek justice and fair-play with claim of damages FOR HOLDING ME UP FROM EMPLOYMENT ON LAND SINCE Sept.2009 without employment at sea, as a deprivation, neglect and discrimination, seeking remedy through the Court of Law, which being my Human Right and violation to Welfare under LABOUR -LAW. With respectful regards.

      Respectfully yours,

      Authentical System’s copy * sent as advance copy.
      (Er. G. Kamaleshwaran), <kamalesh
      Address: No.19/22, “Corporation Colony” 3rd(Third)Street, Tondiarpet, Chennai-600081.
      Enclosure: Letter referred above COPY of my Indian Certificate of Competency for which renewal is pending with MMD Chennai , fulfilling all requisite supporting documents with payment of fees.

      “High time the Govt. of India considers, to confer the ARJUNA national award, for the longest service out at sea, by any Indian”

      c.c. Dr. P.K.Chandran, Ph.D., F.I.E., C.Eng., M.B.A., LL.B., PgD.L.L., L.L.M. Corporate Member-Chennai Press Club General Secretary – Chennai Society for Fast Justice(Regd.), Managing Editor & Publisher "Marine Waves" Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine) , Ex.Director-Sri Nandanam Maritime Academy, Thirupattur, T.N., http://www.themarinewaves.com, www. seafarersvoice.com, Fellow / Member of Professional bodies in INDIA and Overseas. CHARTERED ENGINEER w/ Marine Specialization, and qualified LAWYER. Research Scholar – Ph.D (Law).

      ** It was a national loss, holding seamen from work, generating foreign currency to the national exchequer. While many COC holders abstaining from work and not-earning for the nation.

      Shri Pankaj Kumar Mehta,OSD to Minister, [email protected] -do- 202, C-Wing, Shastri Bhavan 8, Tuglak Lane AND Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, [email protected],23072192, 23072193 (O) 23072194 (Fax) 23794728, 23794729(R),301-A Wing Shastri Bhavan 8, Tuglak Lane

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