The Supreme Court on Monday saw an interesting exchange of words between lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on the erosion of faith in the Indian judiciary. This was during the hearing on the movement of migrant workers amidst the nationwide lockdown. Bhushan, who was appearing on behalf of the petitioners, argued that the central government was not enforcing the fundamental rights of migrant workers, who remained stuck in various parts of the country during the lockdown period.
But before the hearing could commence, Justice Kaul asked Bhushan, “You don’t have faith on us. How can we hear you? An order can always be criticised.”
Bhushan, according to Livelaw, replied, “I have never said that I have no faith in this institution. I only expressed my views. Some retired judges are also saying the same thing. The court is accepting whatever the government is stating without verifying.”
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul to Advocate Prashant Bhushan: “You don’t have faith on us. How can we hear you. An order can always be criticised.”
Justice Gavai: “UP CM is saying, he will bring back 15 lakh labourers”#covidindia #MigrantWorkers
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 27, 2020
Justice Kaul continued, “This institution is not hostage to the government. You don’t have faith on us. You don’t have faith in the judiciary! You say that you are with this institution for 30 years. You know some orders are favoUrable, some are not. You should not have said such things.”
Bhushan replied, “I understand sir. This is not a lack of faith in the institution.”
The Supreme Court bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai directed the central government to respond to the court on whether there was any proposal on the movement of migrant workers within a week.
The current nationwide lockdown ends on 3 May, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi could extend it for the third time.