Monday, August 01, 2005

The irrepressible Krishna Iyer

Former Supreme Court judge V. R. Krishna Iyer argues that the Perumatty gram panchayat in Kerala should have the right to prevent the mighty Coca Cola from depleting its groundwater. Much as I agree with Krishna Iyer's politics (particularly in this case), the learned judge's judgments have always been full of flowery bullshit. This article is no exception. Here's a sample:

'Ground water is a great resource of people's good, beyond private ownership, and so indubitably belongs to the community that, sans its preservation as a quintessentially social asset, the water of wells, streams, rivers and the drinking water right of common humanity will suffer grave prejudice. This is obvious to anyone with sense and sensibility, aqua-patriotism and thirst-sensitive humanism. The state is guilty of irrational, arbitrary and inhumanity if this compassionate proposition is violated by corporate avidity. The court, as the perennial sentinel of the republic and oath-bound to command compliance with the mandates of the Constitution, shall use its writ jurisdiction and breathe reality into this hallowed cosmic jurisprudence. The might and majesty of the great judicial institution shall guard even the lowliest citizen in the discharge of his fundamental duty to protect and improve ecology and environment, which include all universal blessings of a nation such as rivers, streams, tanks and wells whose very life diminishes or perishes if the basic level of ground water sinks below safety margin or pollutes its sweet innocence. By whom? By lucre-lustful "colas", carbides and toxic "affluenza" discharged by avaricious industries with malignant technology. If corporate robbery drains our ground water the basic structure of people's right to life is breached and constitutional values buried...Being a perennial reservoir of a socially indispensable source of human survival, none - not even the State - shall sap ground water since vintage human rights will then be mere mirage. Public rights and public law with infinite potential are a rare class of jurisprudence with a vision too sublime for manky legalists and moron jurists to interpret myopically, ignoring "earth democracy".'

As I say, my differences with the learned judge are purely stylistic. Read about the Oxford dimension of this struggle. And watch this space for more details!

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