Indians vote in droves like sheep and cattle: Justice Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

The man who held one of the highest constitutional authorities in India, has struck at the very edifice of the Indian Constitution – the democratic right to vote. At his iconoclastic best at the Town Hall, Justice Markandey Katju demolished the bedrock of democracy and further denigrated Indians to cattle class.

Sitting on the other side of the judgment seat, the Press Council Chairman was grilled by social activists and ordinary citizens at Headlines Today’s Right to Be Heard programme.

Unabashed in his criticism of fellow citizens, Katju said, “Ninety per cent Indians vote in droves like sheep and cattle. They are like a herd of cattle voting along caste and religious lines. This is the bitter truth. And because Indians vote like livestock, there are so many criminals in Parliament.”

And though the former Supreme Court judge espouses reforms, he doesn’t believe India is a full-fledged democracy and he won’t waste time exercising his right to franchise.

“I won’t vote because my vote is meaningless. Our democracy is still in transition and has been hijacked by feudal lords. Votes are cast in the name of Jats, Muslims, Yadavs or Harijans. Democracy is not meant to be run like this. My one vote will not make any difference. Why should I waste my time in joining the cattle queue. Even our social elite like lawyers and professors vote along caste lines. I have seen this happening at the Allahabad Bar and at the University.”

Often branded a Congress stooge for his scathing criticism of the saffron brigade, particularly his whiplashing of BJP posterboy Narendra Modi, Katju said he’s against communal forces and it’s up to the people to draw their conclusions. “I am a complete secular person and by being secular if I am branded a Congressman, you are entitled to your view. I am against communal forces. This is a country of diversity and if we don’t take all our people together, we cannot survive for one day.”

Katju was pinned down for his strident advocacy of celeb convict Sanjay Dutt even as he lambasted the media for pandering to Bollywood bigwigs. But Katju dropped a bombshell saying Dutt stacked weapons for self defence.

“When a mob of 100 people comes to your house, can a pistol suffice? He got an automatic weapon to protect his family. The Dutt family was getting threats when Mumbai was wracked by riots in the aftermath of the Babri demolition.”

And while seeking reformative justice as against the prevailing retributive jurisprudence, Katju took his campaign for celebs a step forward. Not just Sanjay Dutt, he’s prepared to seek pardon for other Bollywood stars, Saif Ali and Salman Khan – all slapped with fresh charges for the killing endangered blackbucks in Jodhpur.

“Yes, I will study their cases and if I am satisfied that I should speak out, I will surely plead their case,” he said.

But did Katju jump the gun and seek mercy for Dutt while the actor himself wants to go to jail? The actor can still exhaust all his legal options like filing a review petition and a curative plea.

“Sanjay Dutt is a shattered man. He has suffered enough. He’s not in his right frame of mind. He has substantively served his sentence. He was linked to the underworld, but he has reformed. A man changes in 20 years. Let’s not take the approach of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice by demanding Dutt’s pound of flesh. I take the approach of Portia which exemplifies that justice should be tempered with mercy,” said Katju.

Criticised for being a publicity hound by dabbling in controversy, Katju says, “Seeking publicity is a form of vulgarity. I don’t chase publicity, but if controversy chases me, what can I do? When I see something wrong, I will continue to speak out as a citizen of India. I have no desire to be in politics or create a votebank.”

Mocking the anti-corruption brigade of Anna and Kejriwal, he said, corruption is 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.”

Call it ivory-tower sermons or a 360 degree view of India, Katju continues to court controversy with his explosive remarks.

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