Daily Vocabulary Builder – The Hindu Editorial with Vocabulary
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The Hindu Editorial with Vocabulary – “The Hadiya Caution”
The case showed us how courts too can be propelled by impulses entirely opposed to the Constitution.
One of the sorriest episodes in India’s judicial history was finally brought to an end in March with the Supreme Court judgment in Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M., or the Hadiya case as we’ve come to know it. Through two separate but concurring opinions, one written by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, for himself and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, and the other by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, the court has reversed a most reprehensible ruling by the Kerala High Court. Yet, a collective reading of these opinions, released in a detailed order last week, tells us only a part of the story.
The judgment aims to speak in stirring language. It focuses attention on the centrality of individual freedom and autonomy under India’s constitutional scheme. “It is obligatory to state here that expression of choice in accord with law is acceptance of individual identity,” the CJI writes, in his characteristically fustian style. “Curtailment of that expression and the ultimate action emanating therefrom on the conceptual structuralism of obeisance to the societal will destroy the individualistic entity of a person. The social values and morals have their space but they are not above the constitutionally guaranteed freedom.”
But this bombast veils the Supreme Court’s own conduct in the case. The opinions do not offer anything resembling an apology for the court having allowed a savagely degrading process of decision-making to fester for far longer than it should have. Indeed, the entire case from its inception had been marked by a sense of tragedy. The tale it tells is depressing: that the courts, designed under our democratic scheme to act as a bastion of fundamental rights, are just as capable as the other wings of government in enforcing the most wrenching forms of paternalism.
It was in January 2016 when Mr. Asokan first approached the Kerala High Court. His grievance was that his daughter, who was born a Hindu, with the given name Akhila, and who had later converted to Islam, taking the name Hadiya, was being illegally detained against her wishes. But the court initially rejected these claims. Ms. Hadiya, it held, was staying at a hostel run by the “Markazul Hidaya Sathyasarani Educational & Charitable Trust” entirely of her own volition.
However, in August that year, Mr. Asokan once again went to the High Court, this time on an apparent apprehension that Ms. Hadiya was likely to be “transported out of the country”. When the petition was still being heard, in December, she married Shafin Jahan. Just months later though, on May 24, 2017, the High Court granted Mr. Asokan her custody, and, what’s more, annulled her marriage with Mr. Jahan altogether.
At play here was an inexplicable show of moralism. “A girl aged 24 years is weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways,” the Bench wrote. “This Court exercising parens patriae jurisdiction is concerned with the welfare of a girl of her age. The duty cast on this Court to ensure the safety of at least the girls who are brought before it can be discharged only by ensuring that Ms. Akhila is in safe hands.”
Even intuitively there are two clear problems with this judgment: one, Ms. Hadiya wasn’t a girl, but was an adult woman making her own choices on how she wanted to lead her life; two, Kerala, unlike some other States that have dangerously draconian anti-conversion laws, does not prevent an adult from converting to a different religion, or from marrying a person of different faith.
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A slow process
Astoundingly, though, when Mr. Jahan approached the Supreme Court against this verdict, the court didn’t quite deem it necessary to grant Ms. Hadiya the bare dignity of a hearing, to ask her what she might have wanted. To the Supreme Court, much like it was to the Kerala High Court, she was only a girl; she simply couldn’t be trusted to do the right thing.
When the appeal first came up for hearing, the court also didn’t so much as venture to wonder how the Kerala High Court could get things so badly wrong, how it could have annulled a marriage in a proceeding for habeas corpus. It should have been obvious to the court that when judges introduce their own set of restrictions on liberty, not only do they impinge on principles of separation of powers, but they also violate their pledge to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution.
Instead, the Supreme Court Bench, presided at the time by CJI J.S. Khehar, unleashed the might of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the parties, directing the authority to probe into the case. The order, though, was silent on what the scope of this inquiry might be, in the process effectively granting the NIA a carte blanche, allowing it to wander where it pleased, well beyond its statutory limitations.
Eventually, it was only in late October last year — when the bench was headed by Chief Justice Misra — that the court finally called for a hearing from Ms. Hadiya. When it listened to her, it became clear to the court that she’d made her own choices, making the judgment that has now followed essentially unexceptionable. After all, it oughtn’t to have required much in the way of analysis to see that the Kerala High Court’s verdict was not only flawed, but that it had resulted in a flagrant miscarriage of justice.
Habeas corpus has its origins in British common law, predating even Magna Carta. The idea behind the writ is to direct a detainee’s presence in court so as to help the court understand if there was any legal justification for the person’s imprisonment. The court’s role, therefore, when a petition for habeas corpus is filed is narrow. It is only, as Chief Justice Misra writes, “to see that the detenue is produced before it, find out about his/her independent choice and see to it that the person is released from illegal restraint.” When exercising this power, the court, the CJI holds, has to remember that an individual’s decisions must be respected. If it becomes clear that a person isn’t being held against her wishes, “the enquiry and determination have to come to an end.”
But as routine as this verdict has ultimately proved to be, perhaps given the times that we live in, it was important that the court reaffirmed certain principles that lie at the heart of the Constitution: that, for instance, an adult person, possessing the ability to act out of her own will, should be allowed responsibility for her own life. After all, the Constitution affords protection to individual autonomy, to the intimate decisions that a person might make, whether they relate to speech, sex, marriage, procreation or religion. The state, which includes the judiciary, cannot interfere in these matters of personal foundation in a bid to enforce a collective ethical judgment. Individuals must be left to decide for themselves how they each want to lead their lives. A judge’s holy writ cannot be used as a means to finagle and majoritarian vision.
Or, as Justice Chandrachud puts it: “In deciding whether Shafin Jahan is a fit person for Hadiya to marry, the High Court has entered into prohibited terrain. Our choices are respected because they are ours. Social approval for intimate personal decisions is not the basis for recognising them. Indeed, the Constitution protects personal liberty from disapproving audiences.”
These words, read in isolation, are no doubt rousing. But ultimately this was a case of the Supreme Court correcting errors of the judiciary’s own making. The lessons to take away from it are many. Foremost among them is this: we must recognise that our courts too can be propelled by impulses entirely opposed to the Constitution, that the glory of judicial review, prized by us all, stands on fragile ground.
Vocabulary Words from The Hindu Editorial
1. Reprehensible(adjective) दोषारोपण करने योग्य/ कलंक का / निन्दा का : Extremely bad or unacceptable. (If you think that a type of behaviour or an idea is very bad and morally wrong, you can say that it is reprehensible.)
Synonyms: Deplorable, Disgraceful, Discreditable, Despicable, Culpable, Objectionable, Opprobrious.
Antonyms: Creditable, Praiseworthy, Good Faultless, Impeccable, Irreproachable
Example: It is not obvious that peace with nuclear weapons is morally more reprehensible than war without.
2. Fustian(adjective) निरर्थक/ दिखावटी तरीका / अतिशयोक्ति : Pompous or pretentious speech or writing. (pompous or pretentious talk or writing)
Synonyms: Ornate, Pompous, Pontifical, Pretentious, Stilted, Turgid Verbose, Ranting. Arrogant. Boastful. Bombastic.
Antonyms: Plainspoken, Simple, Stark, Straightforward, Unadorned, Unaffected, Unpretentious Unrhetorical
Example: The group turned and Kathryn recognised the physicians, all dressed soberly in dark fustian gowns covered in dust and specks of woodchip.
3. Emanate(verb) निर्गत होना/ उद्भव होना/ उत्पन्न होना : (of something abstract but perceptible) issue or spread out from (a source).
Synonyms: Exude, Spread, Discharge, Disgorge, Emit, Radiate Emerge Transmitt
Antonyms: Absorb, Conceal, Hold, Keep, Withdraw
Example: A mood of frustration and intense sadness seems to emanate from him — of which only I am aware.
4. Fester (verb) पीप पड़ना/ घाव पकना / फोड़ा : (of a wound or sore) become septic; suppurate. (If you say that a situation, problem, or feeling is festering, you disapprove of the fact that it is being allowed to grow more unpleasant or full of anger, because it is not being properly recognized or dealt with.)
Synonyms: Putrefy, Suppurate, Rankle, Degrade, Rot, Spoil, Perish, Moulder, Deteriorate
Antonyms: Flourish, Heal, Improve, Ameliorate
Example: My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
5. Bastion (noun) बुर्ज/ हिफाज़त करने वाला/ छावनी/गढ़: A projecting part of a fortification built at an angle to the line of a wall, so as to allow defensive fire in several directions.
Synonyms: Stronghold, Bulwark, Defender, Supporter, Guard, Protection, Defence, Mainstay
Antonyms: Weak Spot, Weakness
Example: This school seems more bastion of privilege than object of charity..
6. Volition(noun) इच्छाशक्ति/ इच्छा की अभिव्यक्ति/ संकल्प / पसंद : The power to make your own decisions: (Your volition is the power you have to decide something for yourself or the faculty or capability of conscious choice, decision, and intention; the will)
Synonyms: Accord, Choice, Desire, Discretion
Antonyms: Coercion, Compulsion, Constraint, Duress, Force, Hobson’s Choice, Obligation, Pressure.
Example: This is how fashion works: it is an insidious force that strips one of volition and sense.
7. Annul(verb) अन्त करना/ निष्फल करना/ मिटा देना : Burdened or impeded by something that prevent from making progress. (declare invalid (an official agreement, decision, or result).
Synonyms: Nullify, Invalidate, Void; Repeal, Rescind, Revoke, Cancel, Abolish, Abrogate, Countermand, Dissolve, Withdraw
Antonyms: Restore, Enact, Approve Formalise, Validate, Ratify
Example: The couple took a one-day honeymoon and the marriage was annulled after three months.
8. Flagrant(adjective) खुला हुआ / निन्दनीय/ दुष्ट : An action, situation, or someone’s behaviour that you find extremely bad or shocking in a very obvious way. (You can use flagrant to describe an action, situation, or someone’s behaviour that you find extremely bad or shocking in a very obvious way.)
Synonyms: Glaring, Obvious, Overt, Evident, Conspicuous, Egregious
Antonyms: Unobtrusive, Slight, Hidden, Concealed, Inconspicuous, Insignificant, Invisible, Small, Unnoticeable,
Example: This is the most flagrant and outrageous use of her position.
9. Finagle(verb) कुटिल या बेईमानी साधनों से प्राप्त करें (कुछ)।: To use tricks and dishonest methods to get what you want:
Synonyms: Trick, Dupe, Outwit, Fool, Delude, Cheat, Bluff, Hoax, Mislead, Misguide, Defraud, Swindle,
Antonym: Bobble, Botch, Bungle, Butcher, Flub, Fumble, Mishandle.
Example: Some were the men, or sons of the men, who had tried to finagle his mother out of her beasts after the death of her husband.
10. Coercive(adjective) बलपूर्वक/ अनिवार्य/ लाचारी : Using force or threats to make someone do something. (Coercive measures are intended to force people to do something that they do not want to do.)
Synonyms: Authoritarian, Imperious, High-Handed, High And Mighty, Autocratic, Autarchic
Antonym: Agreement, Approval, Consent, Permission, Convincing, Persuasion, Suasion
Example: Government debt can always be repaid, because only governments have the coercive power of taxation.
11. Stirring (adjective) धीरे–धीरे चलाने का कार्य / क्रियाशीलता / सरगर्मी/ उत्तेजना : Causing great excitement or strong emotion; rousing.( A stirring event, performance, or account of something makes people very excited or enthusiastic.)
Synonyms: Exciting, thrilling, rousing, stimulating, moving, inspiring, inspirational, passionate, impassioned.
Antonym: Compose, discourage, depress, comfort, pacify.
Example: First stirrings occurred during the early decades of the eighteenth century.
12. Apparent (adjective) प्रत्यक्ष / प्रत्यक्ष / प्रतीत / दृश्यमान: Clearly visible or understood; obvious.( An apparent situation, quality, or feeling seems to exist, although you cannot be certain that it does exist.)
Synonyms: Evident, plain, obvious, clear, manifest, visible, discernible, perceptible, unmistakable, crystal.
Antonym: Doubtful, dubious, questionable, obscure, uncertain.
Example: There is a band for no apparent reason but I liked the change of pace they provided.
Word of the Day – “Recondition”
- Recondition (verb) दुरुस्त करना, मरम्मत करना, पुनर्नवीयन, सुधार करना, नया कर देना
- Meaning:- To recondition a machine or piece of equipment means to repair or replace all the parts that are damaged or broken.
- Synonyms: Overhaul, rebuild, renovate, restore, repair, reconstruct, remodel, refurbish, revamp
- Antonym: Depress, damage, destroy, discourage, shorten.
- Example: In many poor countries of the world, the demand for reconditioned electronic parts is rising at a faster pace, but they are not able to understand the environmental issue behind it.
- उदाहरण: विश्व के अनेक निर्धन देशों में दुरस्त किए गए इलेक्ट्रॉनिक हिस्से-पुर्जों की मांग बहुत तेजी से बढ़ रही है, लेकिन वे इसके पीछे पर्यावरण संबंधी मुद्दों को नहीं समझ पा रहे हैं।
Quote of the Day
“If you want your child to walk the righteous path, do not merely point the way; lead the way.” J.A Rosenkranz
“यदि आप चाहते हैं कि आपका बच्चा सही मार्ग पर चले, तो केवल उसे सही मार्ग की जानकारी प्रदान न करें, बल्कि उस पर चल कर भी दिखाएं।” जे.ए.रोसेनक्रांज
हाई लेवल डाटा इंटरप्रिटेशन प्रैक्टिस वर्कबुक (नवीनतम पैटर्न पर आधारित 200+ प्रश्न विस्तृत समाधान के साथ) – डाउनलोड करने के लिए क्लिक कीजिये
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