" “Most of the politicians in India are scoundrels and worthless. They should be hanged.”
Who is afraid of the Supreme Court? Certainly not Markandey Katju. After all, he is a former judge of the Supreme Court himself. On August 7, Justice Katju criticised the court for “illegally” ordering the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to follow reforms recommended by the Justice Lodha Committee appointed by the court.
The BCCI had recently appointed Katju to head a four-member panel to advise it on the Supreme Court verdict that would result in an overhaul of the cricket body.
Katju says the court has acted beyond its domain and he has advised members of the BCCI to ignore the summons from the Lodha Committee.
After his retirement as Supreme Court judge in 2011, Katju has been vocal on issues ranging from politics to religion to judicial proceedings.
In 2014, he told a news channel that he would not vote in the Lok Sabha election as it was “meaningless” to vote in a democracy that has been “hijacked by feudal lords”. He said 90 per cent Indians were like a “herd of cattle voting along caste and religious lines”.
He made a more scathing statement outside the Varanasi airport in 2015: “Most of the politicians in India are scoundrels and worthless. They should be hanged.” These statements led to widespread demonstrations against him in Varanasi and other parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Katju also antagonised journalists by calling them intellectually inferior, when he was the chairman of the Press Council of India.
He joined social media in 2014 and had an active blog, in which he criticised policies of the Union government and commented on the inefficiencies of the collegium system of appointment and transfer of judges.
In January, this year, he announced his exit from social media with a Facebook post that said: “I tried to pass on all my knowledge I acquired in my life to you, so that you may benefit. But what did I get in return? I got mostly abuses from most of you, because most of you are stupid and arrogant, and have no desire to learn. I am sorry I even tried to teach you.”
Recently, he proclaimed that 50 per cent of judges in the higher judiciary were corrupt.
Katju served as chief justice of the Madras High Court and the Delhi High Court, before being elevated to the Supreme Court in 2006. After his retirement, he became chairman of the Press Council of India, a position he held for three years.
A Kashmiri Pandit, Katju hails from a family of stalwarts in judicial and legislative fields. His father, S.N. Katju, was a judge of the Allahabad High Court and his grandfather Dr Kailash Nath Katju was chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Union home minister, defence minister and governor of West Bengal and Orissa. His uncle B.N. Katju was chief justice of the Allahabad High Court.
He has written several books, including best sellers such as 'Law in the Scientific Era', 'Interpretation of Taxing Statutes' and 'Domestic Enquiry'. He is an atheist. He is also an iconoclast. Katju recently said that Mahatma Gandhi was no father of the nation, but was instead a British agent.