ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Of Judicial Courage in Testing Times

With respect to the independence of the judiciary, there is a tendency to conflate the independence of the institution with that of the individual in the institution. An independent judiciary requires not only systems and norms designed to prevent interference but also individuals prepared to uphold such independence at great cost. One such individual was Justice Syed Mahmood who served in the Allahabad High Court during British Rule.

When speaking of judicial courage, members of the legal fraternity generally point to Justice H R Khanna, the former judge of the Supreme Court of India who penned a brave dissent in the ADM Jabalpur case—a dissent that cost him his chance of becoming the Chief Justice of India (Diwan 2008; Narrain 2022). The New York Times (1976), at that time, famously said,

If India ever finds its way back to the freedom and democracy that were proud hallmarks of its first 18 years as an independent nation, someone will surely erect a monument to Justice H R Khanna of the Supreme Court.

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Updated On : 23rd Jul, 2022
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