The laws of remission in India, including Article 72 of the Constitution, which allows the President to grant pardons, and Section 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which deals with remission or suspension of sentence for convicts, all have their “basis in the Valmiki Ramayana,” according to Madras High Court judge Justice GR Swaminathan on Wednesday.
Justice Swaminathan was speaking at the 16th Akhil Bharatiya Adhivaktha Parishad National Conference at Kurukshetra University in Haryana on the topic ’75 Years of Resurgent Bharat: Time for Bhartiya Jurisprudence.’In recalling an incident from 1994, when he was a speaker at an Adhivaktha Parishad meeting that year, Justice Swaminathan stated that it was during a period of peak militancy in Kashmir. Some militants had been holed up inside a mosque a few days before the meeting and had threatened security forces that they would blow up the mosque if they tried to enter, he said.
He stated that the meeting was held in this context, and when it was his turn to speak, he stated that he had read Salmond on jurisprudence and Dias on jurisprudence, but he had never heard of “Biryani jurisprudence.”He also discussed the Supreme Court’s recent release of six life-term convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
He went on to say that around this time, he was reminded of a shloka from the Valmiki Ramayana in which Sita tells Hanuman that no human is perfect and that, as a result, one must abandon the idea of retaliation and instead forgive even one’s own tormentors.Justice Swaminathan referred to an article titled ‘Objection your honour’ that criticised Justice Nazeer’s statement.He urged everyone in the audience to read the text of Justice Nazeer’s statement again, translate it into their native tongues, and distribute such pamphlets to the public.
Justice Swaminathan went on to say that while the current legal system has benefitted the country greatly, there is no reason why it cannot be improved.However, he added that what is required is not a blind application of ancient principles, but rather what is in tune with current needs and times.
He also addressed recent disagreements between the Supreme Court collegium and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju.He stated that every time a new Chief Justice is appointed to the Madras High Court, the Bar Association’s welcome address recounts the Tamil epic tale of Silappatikaram, in which a king dies of cardiac arrest after realising he had failed to implement due process of law and had wrongfully executed a man accused of thievery.He concluded his speech by saying that, while the country’s current legal system, including the Constitution, is a mash-up of features from several Constitutions and legal principles from western nations, our genius was in “making Bharatiya music flow out of western instruments.