In Mathew 3 of the Bible which was written almost 2000 years ago, it says ‘Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth’. Over the course of years its implication has been a separation of one’s actions especially as regards charity and that one should not boast about such matters.
They say that love is blind and in some societies it is also accepted to go on a ‘Blind Date’ with someone of the opposite sex who one may never met and seen before. Such is an accepted norm too!
Lady Justice: This concept is said to have originated at the time of the Roman Emperor in 63 BCE and is said to be personification of moral force in the judicial system. This led to the western concept to show and depict justice as a blindfolded lady with a naked sword, signifying power in one hand and an evenly matched pair of scales depicting fairness in the other. This was claimed to signify fair justice to all, irrespective of their status in society. A cartoon in a recent issue of The Economist writing about the Legal Reform Bill in Israel shows a blindfolded Lady Justice about to be whacked by PM Benyamin Netanyahu! The first reading of the Bill has been passed by the Knesset but two more to go!
Regarding justice in our land I have vague memories of seeing a cartoon, just after the era of Man Mohan premiership, said to be depicting a Chief Justice, sitting on a branch of a tree. This, considered to be very derogatory to the judicial system, created a furore. Subsequent to this episode, journalists in Nepal are very wary of not getting on the wrong side of the law and are loathe neither writing much nor voicing much in the way of comments.
Our fickle minded politicians, at time of having to make a difficult decision, turn to the high court of the land to solve their problems. They are literally trying to pass the buck. Their modus operandi is to fill up the court positions with persons who will toe the line as they direct. Besides, another tactics is to leave vacant for ages the posts so that it is easier to make decisions. A classical example of this is the functioning of the Constitutional Council of the land. The inherent intention is that decisions should be unanimous. The ploy by the PM i.e. who heads it is to leave some posts so that he always has an upper hand to make decisions easier! Such is the road of justice in Nepal. However this type of practice or action by the Chairman of a high powered committee is not something just restricted to Nepal. The Supreme Court in USA, where it matters if the majority of the justices are inclined to the Democrats or to the Republican way of thinking! One has only to think of the USA where Donald Trump during his term as president nominated three Chief Justices to the Supreme Court. Having a majority in tune with his way of thinking, the 50 years old Roe vs. Wade decision on abortions was overturned sometime after.
A noted journalist Bijaya Kumar has posted in FB this comment about court, “In some political matters it sometimes gives its decision as a bullet train. Then in many other instances, the engine doesn’t even start. Why is it so?”
The work of the Truth & Reconciliation Committee in Nepal is at a standstill as far as justice is considered. This seems worldwide for such is the situation in South Africa too. What shame. Justice delayed is justice denied. There is the case of rape and murder of Nirmala Pant plus another who after fasting for justice tried to immolate herself with a baby in her lap! Then too is the case of the murder of Dilip Mahato by the sand mafias.
The classical concept that the Nepalis have of justice can be taken by the saying current all over the country that states ‘For justice go to Gorkha’. This is proved by the fact that Nepalis demonstrating for justice do so in the middle of the day with lighted lanterns or even candles in their hands. Whilst this is an accepted fact, a local saying in use advises ‘Affanai hath Jagannath’. We in this present day in this part of the world are however in danger if we consider the words of philosopher Fulton J Sheen who said, ‘Civilisation is always in danger when those who have never learned to obey are given the right to command.’
Around this time also another picture was posted of a policeman inspecting a car tyre with the comment, “If a car has to be ‘roadworthy’ before it is allowed on the road, then how come that it is not necessary for a road to be ‘vehicle worthy’ before a car to be driven on it?” This is certainly a worthy thought to be kept in mind by the concerned authorities!
Following the Yeti Airlines crash near the Pokhara Airport, a contributor in FB commented that if following an accident the driver or the owner of the vehicle can be arrested then why not with the same logic should not the owner of an airline in which a large number of people have died be similarly dealt with. EU wants CAAN to be divided into two parts i.e. Separation of the regulatory and the managerial aspects is essential for fair practices. Nepal is in an air safety blacklist as late as Oct. 2022. Why is our government not prepared to separate the authority as EU has demanded.
The ‘Take home message for all of us Nepalis are the words of Albert Einstein who said, “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth”. The situation in Nepal during the last thirty years can be well compared with that of the elephant and six blind men. The different governments at various times have like the blind men have tackled only the problems piecemeal so that the country has not made much progress in all these years. This is the blind justice in our motherland.
The author is a retired medical doctor and writes fiction under the pen name of Mani Dixit also. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd