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‘Bulldozer Justice Taking Over Natural Justice, 5 Crore Cases Pending in Courts’: Justice Lokur

Justice Madan Lokur said there have been many cases where people’s houses have been demolished without giving notice to them.
stice Madan Lokur on Monday said that bulldozer justice

Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Justice Madan Lokur on Monday said that bulldozer justice is taking over natural justice, referring to the action of several Bharatiya Janata Party-led state governments who have been demolishing houses of those accused of crimes but have not yet been convicted.    

“Bulldozer justice refers to laws being implemented with a very heavy hand. There have been many cases where people’s houses have been demolished without giving notice to them. Sedition laws are being used on university students, school children and people on social media. When the Supreme Court directed not to use the sedition laws, the executive started using UAPA to charge people,” he said. Retired Justice Lokur was speaking at an event marking the publishing of the report Promises & Reality 2019-2023 at the Constitution Club in Delhi.  

The Promises & Reality 2019-2023 is a review of the NDA II government based on four broad themes -- status of democracy, development, governance and marginalised communities. The contributors of the report include noted civil society organisations, individuals, and experts. 

Referring to the massive amount of pending cases at the country’s courts, Justice Lokur said, “Yesterday, the Hon’ble President spoke about access to justice. Where is access to justice if there are 5 crore cases pending?” he questioned.  

According to a press statement by the organisers of the event, Justice Lokur also said that the elected representatives should be more easily accessible to the public so that certain issues can be solved therein and not be brought to courts. 

As the report was published, a panel discussion was also held by the report contributors and experts.  

A panellist, Ingrid Srinath, an philanthropy and civil society expert, stated that democracy has faced the biggest threat in the last 4 years of the current regime. “People’s right to freedom of expression, association and movement – all have been threatened. There has been a complete shrinking of space for academics, mass media, and big businesses and the message has been clear – either become a cheerleader or face the consequences,” she said. 

Notably, India has slipped by 11 ranks to the 161st position out of 180 countries in the press freedom index 2023. 

Among others, Dr Dipa Sinha, an economist and faculty at Ambedkar University, Delhi, noted that a lack of proper data is threatening the country. “Politics is being played with data in two ways. First, important data like the Census is not being collected and published. Secondly, the definitions of data are being modified by the government. For example, in the conversation on anaemia among children, a narrative is being created that international standards do not apply to Indian children,” she said.  

The Promises & Reality 2019-2023 has as its contributors experts like Anjali Bharadwaj, John Dayal, Prof Apoorvanand, Ingrid Srinath, and organisations such as RightToFood Campaign, Right To Education Forum, National Campaign for Dalit and Human Rights, Internet Freedom Foundation, Jagori and Nazariya, among others. They said the report aims to make the dialogues on governance more citizen-centric and uphold the causes of marginalised communities. 

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