” Qafas udas hai yaaron, saba se kuch to kaho
Kaheen to beher-e-khuda aaj zikr-e-yaar chale “
The sher had such a powerful impact on the Pakistani authorities that they announced that the Pakistan Government would honour the appeal made by the Indian Supreme Court. Gopal Das was released a few days thereafter and he came back to India and has got married.
This was unprecedented. Never perhaps in world judicial history was such an appeal made by any Court, and never was it so honoured.Such is the power of Urdu poetry.
7. In a judgment in the Supreme Court relating to custodial violence by the police, I began by quoting a sher by Faiz :
” Bane hain ahal-e-hawas muddai bhi munsif bhi
Kise vakeel karein kisse munsifi chaahen ? “
” When selfish people are both petitioners and judges
Whom should I make my lawyer ? From whom should I seek justice ? ”
I was informed by a lawyer friend who went to Pakistan soon after I gave the judgment quoting the above sher that printouts of my judgment were being distributed like hot cakes in Lahore, Karachi, etc. I was told by another friend that when one of my judgments was cited in a High Court in Pakistan, the Judge asked the lawyer ” Is he the same Indian Judge who quotes Faiz ? ”
8. And let me end this post by mentioning a mischief I did about 50 years ago, but which I have not revealed to anyone till now.
This incident happened in the year 1972 or 1973. I was then a very junior lawyer, aged about 26 or so, in Allahabad High Court.
It so happened that a very ‘dismissing judge ‘ ( if I may use a vulgar term ) came to the Allahabad High Court. He would dismiss all petitions and appeals. Some lawyers came to me and said ” Katju Saheb, bachaiye, yeh to hamein barbaad kar dega ” ( Katju Saheb, save us , this Judge will ruin us ” ). I told them not to worry.
That evening I wrote a leaflet with the heading ” High Court ya kasai ghar ? ‘ ( i.e. ‘ High Court or Slaughterhouse ?’ ). Below that I quoted the sher of Faiz mentioned above ( Bane hai ahal-e-hawas muddai bhi munsif bhi, kise vakeel karein, kisse munsifi chaahen). I then wrote that ever since this Judge has come he has been dismissing all cases, making the High Court like a slaughterhouse, etc, etc.
This leaflet was secretly printed in some press, and the next morning long before the Court could assemble was distributed widely in the High Court premises. In each of the Courtrooms a copy was placed on the Judges’ desk, and in the front row where mostly the senior lawyers would sit. When the Judges came into their Courtrooms they saw the leaflet, read it, and there was an uproar. Many Judges retired to their chambers saying ” Yeh kya badtameezi hai ? ” ( What is this impertinence ? )
However, the leaflet had its effect, and the judge became a bit more liberal after that.
The credit again must go to the power of Urdu poetry !