India is not a full-fledged democracy as 90% of its people vote like sheep and cattle, Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju said in New Delhi on Saturday.
Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju along with criminal lawyer Majid Memon at Mumbai University function. HT photo/Kunal Patil
Speaking to TV channel Headlines Today, Katju said: "Ninety percent Indians vote in droves like sheep and cattle. They are like a herd of cattle voting along caste and religious lines."
"Because Indians vote like livestock, there are so many criminals in parliament," he added.
The former Supreme Court judge said that he would not vote as India was being run by leaders elected on the basis of their caste, which is not the true form of democracy.
"I won't vote because my vote is meaningless. Votes are cast in the name of Jats, Muslims, Yadavs or Harijans. Democracy is not meant to be run like this. Why should I waste my time in joining the cattle queue?" he said.
Boasting of his secular credentials, Katju said that he was against communal forces and "by being secular, if I am branded a Congressman, you are entitled to your view".
Katju has been in news for seeking a pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt and Zaibunnisa Kazi, charged with illegal possession of arms in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case by the Supreme Court.
Katju has argued that Dutt stacked the weapons for self defence and to protect his family from the threats that they were getting in the aftermath of the Babri demolition.
"Sanjay Dutt is a shattered man. He has suffered enough but he has reformed," he said.
Katju said that he was prepared to seek pardons for other stars, Saif Ali Khan and Salman Khan, who have been charged for killing endangered blackbucks in Jodhpur.
"I will study their cases and if I am satisfied that I should speak out, I will surely plead their case," he said.
Accused of being hungry for publicity, the former judge said that "seeking publicity is a form of vulgarity". He added that he never chases controversy but what can he do if controversy chases him.
He also mocked Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal and his former associate Anna Hazare, saying that corruption was a "malaise which cannot be eradicated in the next 20 years".
"This campaign is like the tale told by an idiot signifying nothing. There's no morality code in the country, so corruption cannot be wiped out," Katju said.