Courts don’t play ball

The author’s wife Anita, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, had to be presented in court to get bail for having evaded summons, that were never served, for a case relating to a house that they never built, on a plot that they did not own. When he says they did not receive a summons, the judicial magistrate says, “Yes, sometimes it happens. Our people don’t actually take the trouble of going to serve the summons and just write that the summons could not be served.” The narration of his personal experience is gripping and relatable. But, the author goes on to address larger issues ailing the judiciary.

Arun Shourie, scholar, author, and former editor and minister, has always been meticulous in compiling relevant facts, and precise yet deep in his analysis of them. In this book, among other examples, he uses the disproportionate assets case against late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, the National Anthem case and the Judge Loya case, to make his point.

Anita gets Bail: What Are Our Courts Doing? What Should We Do About Them? is not anti-judiciary. Shourie counts himself “among those who feel deeply indebted to the judiciary”. The Supreme Court, in particular, has been “the dyke that has preserved free speech”. So, Shourie quotes judgments profusely, to make it clear he is not tearing bits of it out of context. And, every chapter has lessons that people have to learn from specific cases and judgments. The book is strewn with anecdotes, much of which have his own presence as they unfold.

Anita gets Bail : What Are Our Courts Doing? What Should We Do About Them

By Arun Shourie

Published by Harper Collins

Price Rs 699; pages 277