"Objection Overruled"- Justice G.R. Swaminathan Reacts To Criticism Of Justice Abdul Nazeer's Call For Indianisation Of Judiciary
"Objection overruled", said Justice G. R. Swaminathan in response to an article titled "Objection Your Honour" that was published criticizing Justice Abdul Nazeer's statement last year about the need to Indianize the Indian Judiciary. "We have gathered here to bang the gavel hard and declare, objection overruled", he said.
Justice G. R. Swaminathan was speaking at the 16th National Conference of Akhil Bharatiya Adhivaktha Parishad at Kurukshetra University, Haryana.
"There can be no doubt that this colonial legal system is not suitable for the Indian population. The need of the hour is the Indianisation of the legal system", Justice Abdul Nazeer had said in September 2021. He had also said that the continued neglect of great knowledge of ancient India and adherence to the colonial legal system is detrimental to the goals of our Constitution and is against our national interest.
His remarks invoked sharp criticism from some quarters. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave was among those who criticised the remarks.
While speaking on the subject "75 years of Resurgent Bharat: Time for Bhartiya Jurisprudence", Justice Swaminathan said, "All of us present here will re-read Justice Abdul Nazeer's lecture given under the auspices of Adhivakta Parishad last year, line by line. It is in English, let us translate it into our respective languages and have it distributed as wide as possible through every possible source. I can proudly tell you, l got it translated into Tamil and it was released a few months back".
He said that all the basic principles of law can be found in ancient Indian jurisprudence. He urged the audience to read the book of Justice Rama Jois and listen to the talk of Justice V. Ramasubramanian on Indian epics and the law (watch here) to understand Bharatiya Jurisprudence.
He spoke about instances in Kambar's Ramayana and Mahabharata which illustrate instances of application of modern legal principles.
He said that what is required is not a blind application of ancient principles, but only what is in tune with current needs and times. "Certain aspects of the past were absolutely objectionable. Whatever is not in tune with constitutional morality, we will not accept, he clarified.
"Truthfulness is the fundamental feature of our jurisprudence", he cited an instance where he applied the principle in a case he decided referring to the Mandukya Upanishad.
He said that the obsession with the admissibility of evidence and procedure is an absurdity of modern western jurisprudence. He said that he invokes Indian principles whenever he gets the opportunity and cited a few examples. He also referred to a Judgement of Justice Markandey Katju about 'Mimamsa Principles'.
He recommended reading the books of Dharampal.
"Ours is Dharma which is preservatory in theme. Theirs is predatory in approach. Whether a predatory approach can be superimposed on a Dharmic society like ours is a fundamental question that we have to necessarily ask", Justice Swaminathan said.
He said that though England and France are nearby, their legal systems are different. "India which is so far apart, why should we blindly adopt the English system", he asked citing fundamental differences between British and Indian societies.
"What brought you here, will not take you there", he said in answer to the question as to whether we should give up a legal system that has given us so much according to him.
"Let noble thoughts come from every side", he said quoting Rig Veda and referring to his relying upon a judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a case.
"The legal system that we now have, including the constitution that is an amalgam of features of various Constiutisions, may apparently be a western one. But our genius consists in making the Bharatiya music flow out of western instruments", he said concluding his speech.