The judiciary came in for some concerted though indirect attack during the DMK-led hunger strike on the Sethusamudram Project on Monday. Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu, who started the stream of speeches, questioned the Supreme Court and said “What was the special hurry in hearing the case against the bandh on a Sunday? Nowhere in history has this happened.”
Complaining that the courts were interfering with policy decisions he pointed out that judges were not infallible.
“Otherwise why should there be provisions for appeals and even impeachments. Our MPs and MLAs should take note of this,” he said. The Union minister, without naming anyone, pointed out how there were even corruption charges against former judges now. “The Sethusamudram Project is a cabinet decision and no ‘komban’ (someone on a high pedestal) can stop it,” he said amidst cheers.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in his short speech pointed out that he was not violating any court order since there was no ban against holding a hunger strike. “If there is such a ban we’ll abide by it. I will not be surprised if the court gives a different ruling against the fast by this evening itself,” he said derisively.
Contrasting the speed at which the apex court processed the Setu cases with the delay in cases against Jayalalithaa Karunanidhi observed, “At the same time there is so much delay in the wealth case in Bangalore and the Kodanadu estate case (both against Jayalalithaa). This is because we are what we are and they are what they are,” he said imputing that he and Jayalalitha belonged to different caste spectrums.
Even in the past Karunanidhi had criticized the Supreme Court when a two member bench refused to vacate the stay on 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in higher education.
“We need to let the world know that a situation in which two or three persons can decide the fate of 100 crores people of this country was extremely harmful and damaging to democracy,” he had observed in March this year. The DMK and its allies then went on to organize a statewide bandh on March 31 in protest against the Supreme Court’s ruling.