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  Opinion   Edit  10 Dec 2023  AA Edit | SC tells HCs: Don't sermonise

AA Edit | SC tells HCs: Don't sermonise

Published : Dec 11, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Dec 11, 2023, 12:05 am IST

Desist is the order coming from the highest court now.

Supreme Court of India. (AA File Image)
 Supreme Court of India. (AA File Image)

An order of the Calcutta high court dealing with the sexual attitude of adolescent girls and boys while dealing with a Pocso case triggered such alarms in a Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice as to have prompted them into putting forth a virtual dossier of dos and don’ts for all members of the judiciary.

In castigating the two judges who may have tended to outdo Masters and Johnson in laying out rules for girls in declaring that every female adolescent “should control sexual urges and protect her right to the integrity of her body”, the top court has stated quite bluntly that judges are not expected to climb a podium and deliver sermons.

Grandstanding is a weakness that may run through anyone who likes to lay it out loud and clear when they speak from the ‘height’ of the office they occupy. But it is not only the politicians who tend to get preachy when it comes to laying it out on how the people should behave.

Judges, by virtue of having climbed their career ladder with hard work and application of mind to the letter and spirit of complex laws, do tend to sermonise somewhat. And understandable too as many of those in the higher judiciary may be coming from conservative parts of society.

To rein in the temptation to go way beyond the scope of cases that come before them and moralise while churning put personal views on “model behaviour” for the people at large is well-intended advice coming along with the weighty authority of the apex court.

In a case in which the judges even remarked that “in the eyes of the society she (female adolescent) is the loser when she gives in to enjoy the sexual pleasure of hardly two minutes,” the Supreme Court’s ire is justified.

There is a lesson in this for judges in the obiter dicta of whose cases can often be seen to be filled with commentary on social and moral issues, sometimes stretching far beyond the scope of the law and its interpretation. Desist is the order coming from the highest court now.

Tags: supreme court of india, aa edit