Any law student at some point or the other would have aspired to practice in the Supreme Court, or would look up to the institution with awe and respect. Being the daughter of someone who has been spearheading efforts in bringing about much needed transparency in the system, someone who has faced the brunt for it, and having seen firsthand how unfair the system can be, I must admit that I very rarely, if ever, harbored those feelings. But even then, walking up the stairs of the Supreme Court for the very first time, I must admit I did feel a tinge of pride to be a small part of this great institution and a sense of reverence for everything it represented. But my initial feelings were soon wiped clean. My experience in the courtrooms, sadly, did not live up to what the great edifice and its adulated name promised.
My father, Adv. Mathews J. Nedumpara, had gone before the CJI to bring to his Lordship’s notice the wrongful manner in which he was sought to be prevented from entering the court. One would expect the Chief Justice to be appalled that such a treatment could be meted out to a lawyer, that he could be unnecessarily stopped and harassed from entering the court. The CJI however, seemed dismissive of the whole affair and failed to even feign interest. This is beyond sad, because it gives room to believe rumors that the CJI or other judges were in on this completely unacceptable and downright shameful scheme. I still do not wish to believe so. Others believe Mr. Marwah (I hope these words find its way to you, Sir), Registrar Security, acted on his own accord.
My father who was already informed that there were directions to prevent his entry, and that he should carry his proximity card without fail to avoid any such complication, found it rather amusing that so much effort was being taken and so much unnecessary commotion was being made on his account – the guards were checking IDs to identify Adv. Mathews, wireless messages were passed to search for him, a guard was assigned to shadow every step he took, unnecessary delay was created in issuing a pass. To him it only exposed the faults of his foes. An unarmed man, a lawyer of 35 years standing at the bar, a lawyer carrying his SC proximity card, a familiar face and if nothing else, a citizen of this country carrying necessary proof of identity. Why was he denied entry, why was he asked to take a regular pass, why was he wrongly denied even that? He is barred from practicing in the Apex Court as a lawyer for a period of 1 year for repeatedly having raised his voice against nepotism and opaqueness in the system. He is in no way barred from entering it.
The Secretary General, one of the few genuinely nice persons I have met in the recent past, expressed his deep regret that such an incident ever took place and assured us that it would not be repeated. For my father, the whole incident ended there – he did not lose his cool even once, he cooperated in the most gracious manner, chiding those with him who tried to raise their voice against the security personnel, saying that the guards were helpless and only doing as they were told. For me however, it is still a little difficult to let go of the shock and outright fury that such blatant misuse of power could be carried out within the gates of the country’s highest temple of justice.