The Kerala High Court has condemned the cyber-attacks launched against judges for taking up matters of public importance. Justices Devan Ramachandran and Sophy Thomas were hearing the suo motu writ petition concerning the ‘Kerala Boat Tragedy’ which took place in Tanur, Malappuram district, wherein 22 people drowned, including women and children.
Justice Ramachandran said, “…The problem is, when Court speaks for the people, it becomes anti-government. I don’t know how this happens. We are facing cyber attacks. What kind of system are we creating where Judges can’t speak aloud? Because we have initiated a suo motu in this case, we are attacked…It is the duty of the State to also ensure that the Judiciary is also able to work.”
He was referring to the social media posts made against the bench for initiating a suo motu writ petition in light of the boat tragedy and the murder of a medical professional by a man in police custody brought for a check-up.
Furthermore, Justice Ramachandran said that the incidents had emotionally exhausted him. He also said that the judiciary was being attacked ‘left, right and centre’ by certain persons including a few ‘persons in robes’ levelling the attacks.
He said, “This is not how the system should go. We have a very healthy Bar, as far as we are concerned. I was a part of this Bar for the past 32 years. I know this Bar. But not that person who makes such responses. There is a healthy discussion happening at the Bar.” He added, “Yesterday, the Senior Government Pleader S. Kannan, informed us that the Government is with us in the matter of the death of the young house surgeon. That is not the problem. The issue is there are other self – appointed people who try coming in and walk as authorities.”
The Kerala High Court found serious lapses on the part of government authorities in the boat tragedy and the murder of the medical professional by a man in police custody. The court clarified that the attempt is not to micro-manage the authorities, but to step in when the persons in-charge have failed to perform their duties.
The Kerala High Court said that it has a responsibility to the people, the state and the Constitution of India and that the State should not treat the two cases as adversarial litigations. The court said, “The fact that 22 people having died, and a young doctor has been killed, indicates that there is a problem that has to be resolved.”
“We have been very tolerant until now, which has been regarded as weakness now. The Lakshmana Rekha has been broken. Our voices cannot be stifled. What others say does not scare us,” the Kerala High Court added.
Kerala Boat Tragedy
Recently, the Kerala High Court took suo motu cognisance into the ‘Kerala Boat Tragedy’ which took place in Tanur, Malappuram district, wherein 22 people drowned, including women and children.
The Kerala High Court said, “Twenty two precious lives have been lost in a boat tragedy at Tanur, Malappuram, a day ago – which, by initial accounts, was one that should have never happened and fully averted.” The court observed that the citizens seem justifiably indurated to the news of loss of lives caused solely by the “deathly cocktail of callousness, indifference, greed and official apathy.”
The Division Bench comprising of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Shoba Annamma Eapen presided over the case. The Kerala High Court said that there are hundreds of boats operating in tourism and that if the present state of affairs is allowed to continue, then such incidents are further waiting to happen. “More so, since our State has hundreds of boats in tourism and a further such incident, though unthinkable, is waiting to happen some where, some place, if the present state of affairs are allowed to continue,” said the court.
Justice Ramachandran said, “The lifeless bodies of the children, it has become difficult for us to sleep now. We will not let this be forgotten,” while proposing to initiate Suo Motu action. He added, “22 people died. Children died. And our hearts are bleeding. Nobody has a fear of law anymore.”
Dr Vandana Das Murder
Recently, the Kerala High Court pointed out the systemic failure concerning the gruesome murder of a young healthcare professional, Dr Vandana Das, who was killed by a person who was in police custody. Furthermore, the court said that the protocols concerning the protection of healthcare professionals, students, interns, house surgeons and others must be immediately evolved, otherwise, the faith in the system will erode.
The Kerala High Court said, “for some reason, Vandana Das was alone in the observation room at the particular point of time, which opportunity was seized by the accused to repeatedly stab her. This is a gruesome incident, which, as we have already said in our earlier order, should have never happened.”
Furthermore, the Kerala High Court directed that the lack of protocols or inefficiency of the same should not be impelled as a reason to justify another crime. The court directed that the protocols applicable to the production of persons in police custody before a magistrate shall be applied when producing them before healthcare professionals and doctors.