Many years ago, I attended the court hearing of a friend, and managed to get a seat in the courtroom. I sat with my legs crossed, as I normally do, till I found a policeman at my elbow, brandishing his lathi at my legs, gesturing for me to uncross them.

“Was I being disrespectful to the honourable judge by sitting with my legs crossed?” I asked a High Court judge later at a more friendly gathering, “No,” she replied smiling, “Disrespectful to the law of the land!”

That uncrossing of my feet and how the constable rightly and firmly drove the point home has remained entrenched in my mind.

Sadly, that lathi has hardly been used in our country, the last ten years.

But with the results of this election, what needs to return forcefully is absolute respect and fear for the law of the land.

The election results no doubt were a thundering victory for the Constitution, but this sweeping triumph will be rendered futile and useless unless every single unlawful activity, incident of injustice, and bullying highhandedness is brought under the microscopic scrutiny of the law.

In the next five years, our justice system needs to go through a complete overhaul. Speedy justice needs to be delivered with more courts, more judges, and quick disposal of pending cases.

It’s not faith in any political party that people need to acquire but a complete trust in our laws.

Most politicians don’t want this, because the elected man or woman who came in through a majority vote count doesn’t want his power curbed by strictures.

So, in the same way ‘people power’ was exercised in these elections, ‘people power’ needs to go into overdrive to revamp, re energise and restrengthen our system of justice.


By teaching and training people to use available laws whether in village panchayats or in their housing societies. Right a wrong by quoting from bye-laws, sending a lawyer’s notice, and using courts. As people start seeing the sharp teeth the law has, faith in the system will be restored, and realisation will come, that this method of exercising your legal right needs to be jealously guarded and developed.

We have become quite adept at using phrases like, ‘Safeguarding our Constitution,” but till the aam- aadmi, the janata, the ordinary citizen realises that this huge big word, ‘Constitution’ actually percolates to those little byelaws guarding and protecting his small joys and hard-earned contentment, he will fritter away his vote like he did ten years ago.

Teach our people to use the law to fight for their rights, and with each win, that same Constitution which our forefathers envisioned, and gifted us, will become more precious.

Precious enough that we  sit in court, spontaneously respectful, with uncrossed legs..!

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