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Former CJI and Judges Believe Jallikattu Protests Could 'Influnce' Pending SC Verdict

New Delhi: The ongoing protests in Tamil Nadu against the ban on Jallikattu could have a bearing on the pending Supreme Court verdict on the fate of the bull-taming sport, three eminent former judges have told News18.

Justice Vishweshwar Nath Khare, who served as the Chief Justice of India from December 2002 to May 2004, told News18 that ‘public opinion sometimes influences court’s verdict’.

“Mostly a judge tries to go by law, but there are times when public opinion does play a role in interpreting provisions of the law,” said Justice Khare.

Justice Khare’s statement comes days after a two-judge SC bench declined to pass an interim order allowing Jallikattu this Pongal as “the court verdict was pending in a few days.”

There is a precedent – the death sentence for Afzal Guru in the Parliament attack case.

“The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender,” read the court verdict.

Echoing Justice Khare’s observation, Justice Hosbet Suresh, former judge of the Bombay High Court who also led commissions that investigated human rights violations, told News18 that “generally such opinion should not matter but there are times when it does.”

“Even judges are humans and humans are bound to be influenced by their surroundings, hence there are times when verdicts are influenced by public opinion or public interest,” said Justice Suresh, who also added that such public interest must be in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Banumathi while declining to pass an interim order allowing Jallikattu mentioned that a ‘draft judgment was ready’ and it was ‘unfair for the petitioners’ to hasten for a verdict in their favour.

Justice Jaspal Singh, a former judge of the Delhi High Court believes that the 2014 verdict banning Jallikattu is a ‘verdict which cannot be implemented because there are public sentiments and public interest at stake’.

“There are high chances that the massive protest in Tamil Nadu may influence the pending verdict in the SC. This is not the first time that public opinion will influence the apex court. Not only Afzal Guru’s death sentence but also Yakub Memon’s hanging was also conducted to satiate public sentiments. Even in Punjab, during the dark days of militancy, hundreds of habeas corpus petitions used to be dismissed citing public interest,” said Justice Singh.