Gujarat’s top legal echelons are abuzz after a video of High Court Justice Paresh Upadhyay — in which he strongly criticised the police and a magistrate for being the custodians of a politician instead of being the protectors of citizens — was not put up on the court’s YouTube channel. Vibes of India Reports.
Conspicuously missing — till Tuesday morning — among Gujarat High Court’s usual YouTube uploads is the video of a high court judge’s very serious observation that we are not a kingdom but a republic.
It has set Gujarat’s top legal echelons abuzz, with senior advocates and judges wondering why the video of Justice Paresh Upadhyay — in which he strongly criticised the police and a sub-divisional magistrate for being the custodians of a politician instead of being the custodians of the citizens — has not been put up.
Gujarat High Court live streams proceedings and puts up videos of the hearings. In this case, top sources told Vibes of India, there was considerable CCTV footage but it was not put up.
Is it because the case involves a BJP leader, Godhra MLA C K Raulji, the local police and a sub-divisional magistrate, top advocates asked.
Justice Paresh Upadhyay, known for his fair and fierce judgments, had come down heavily on Raulji, police and a sub-divisional magistrate for an externment order.
A man named Pravin Charan had been ordered to stay away from eight districts in Gujarat after Charan called up Raulji’s son seeking to know why the elected legislator was not working enough in the constituency.
Three FIRs were filed against Charan, and based on this the sub-divisional magistrate had issued an externment order.
The high court had questioned sternly why the sub-divisional had externed a citizen from eight districts. The police tried to say that Charan had issued a death threat. Justice Upadhyay had then observed that if it was a death threat why was Charan not put behind the bars and instead externed.
The story is far from over. Justice Upadhyay, known to be a judge who favours none and minces no words, made some significant comments, including:
We do not run kingdoms; we are a republic.
Is this a republic where a citizen cannot raise a question also to their elected representatives?
Today a person is externed for seeking account of an MLA’s work. Next, a citizen could be externed if he or she does not vote for a particular MLA… This is only one step away from that.
There is an urgent need to shift the sub-divisional magistrate from this place because he has not worked as a custodian of people’s trust but for a politician’s interests.
You want to send a loud and clear message that does not call the MLA’s son and ask about the MLA’s performance.
Justice Upadhyay also issued a notice to BJP MLA Raulji by joining him as a party respondent, saying that the court is not impleading his son but the MLA in order to question him whether he approves of such a practice.
The judge observed: “If the grievances of the citizen against local MLAs are to be dealt with in this manner, not only the citizen needs to be protected, even the response needs to be asked from the concerned MLA as to whether he supports such an order.”
Justice Upadhyay has sought replies from all concerned by August 13, the next date of hearing.
The legal fraternity in Gujarat is surprised why such important remarks made by the judge have not been uploaded on the high court site as they are usually done.
The observations by the judge were made on Monday, August 2 but till the story went online on Tuesday, August 3 at 1.15, the videos had not been uploaded.