People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 18, 2007
SFI - DYFI Agitation Against judgment On Kerala Professional College Act
In a unique agitation, exposing the emerging neo-liberal character of judiciary, the youth and students of the state symbolically 'impeached' the chief justice of Kerala, V K Bali, on the day of his retirement from service. The protest was organised by SFI and DYFI jointly.
Justice Bali became the centre-figure of a spate of controversies that put the credibility of the judiciary at stake with the recent judgments such as Kerala Professional College Act. The agitation reflected the strong sentiments of people against him.
The protest of the progressive student and youth movements in the state was sparked off by a series of disclosures by Deshabhimani and Kairali on certain issues that took place immediately before and after the controversial judgment on Kerala Professional College Act. A few days after the judgment, which in effect repealed crucial clauses of the act, Deshabhimani and Kairali-Peopleís TV channel came out with startling exclusive news that Justice Bali went for a pleasure trip facilitated by one of the prominent advocates of the High Court, P C Ipe on the very evening of the day of the judgment. Ironically enough, Ipe was the one who appeared for the association of the managements for pleading their case against the Act in the High Court. A known political leader of one of the constituents of Congress-led UDF, he had accompanied former Congress chief minister Oommen Chandy and Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikkutty during their clandestine visit to chief justice's residence. (Deshabhimani broke this news of the visit that took place on December 6, when the controversy over the irrational nature of the verdict was about to vanish from the media).
Barely a few days before this news appeared in media, another one was revealed in which the allegations raised were more severe. The chief justice and some of his colleagues were given a party by the management of a well-known self-finance educational institution of Kuttikkanam in Idukki district. This management was active all along in the campaign against the Kerala Professional College Act. Putting aside all protocol norms the chief justice and his team sought accommodation in the guesthouse run by the college management, despite the availability of rooms at government-owned guesthouses not far away. All these uncalled for events took place on the very days when the petition against the Kerala Professional College Act filed by the same managements was under consideration in the judicial bench headed by Justice Bali.
Many scholars and judicial experts came out with their views on the controversy and most of them strongly criticised Justice Bali terming his actions unwarranted. Advocate Shanthi Bhooshan, former minister of law and one of the senior advocates in Supreme Court said that he found the charges raised against Justice Bali serious enough for an enquiry. Shanthi Bhooshan, in an interview given to Deshabhimani, urged that if there was any indication of corruption in any of Justice Baliís acts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court should order a CBI enquiry into it. Justice M M Pareeth Pillai said the dignity of the judge is the soul basis of the judiciary and the judges are bound to keep that.
The symbolic impeachment and 'deportation' of Justice V K Bali was carried out in three centers in the state including one in the premises of High Court complex at Cochi. People were compelled to raise their voice when the judicial system degraded itself and started losing its credibility, said Sindhu Joy, state president of SFI. In front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, DYFI state committe member I B Satish opened the 'trial' and after the 'trial' Justice Bali was 'deported' symbolically. In Calicut, DYFI state secretary Sree Ramakrishnan opened the 'people's trial' and SFI state secretary M Swaraj spoke.