SC judgement binds everyone: Justice Nariman

The Supreme Court on Thursday took an exception to a large scale protests following its 2018 judgement that allowed entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age into Sabarimala temple of Kerala, saying once its verdict was passed, it bound everyone, including the prime minister and the chief minister.

“Let it be said that whoever does not act in aid of our judgment, does so at his peril – so far as ministers, both central and state, and MPs and MLAs are concerned, they would violate their constitutional oath to uphold, preserve, and defend the Constitution of India,” it said.

Justice R F Nariman, who along with Justice D Y Chandrachud disagreed to the majority view in a five-judge bench to refer the matter to a seven-judge bench, said bona fide criticism of a judgment, albeit of the highest court of the land, was certainly permissible, but encouraging persons to thwart, the directions or orders of the highest court cannot be countenanced in our Constitutional scheme of things.

He directed the Kerala government to give wide publicity to this judgement through the medium of television, newspapers, etc and take steps to secure the confidence of the people and devise modalities after holding broad-based consultations for implementing the judgment of the court after meeting the genuine concerns of all segments of the community.

The court said “when the (legal) process is complete and a decision is pronounced, it is the decision of the Supreme Court and binds everyone. Compliance is not a matter of option. If it were to be so, the authority of the court could be diluted at the option of those who are bound to comply with its verdicts.”

“Once this is clearly understood and followed, the rule of law is established, and the shameful spectacle of political parties running after votes, or instigating or tolerating mob violence, in defiance of decrees or orders passed by the Supreme Court of India does not reign instead,” Justice Nariman wrote in his separate judgement on review petitions filed against the 2018 judgement.

The court further said the Constitution places a non-negotiable obligation on all authorities to enforce the judgements of this court. The duty to do so arises because it is necessary to preserve the rule of law.

“It is no longer open to any person or authority to openly flout a Supreme Court judgement or order, given the constitutional scheme. It is necessary for us to re-state these constitutional fundamentals in the light of the sad spectacle of unarmed women between the ages of 10 and 50 being thwarted in the exercise of their fundamental right of worship at the Sabarimala temple,” the court said.

 

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