Hon’ble Justice Shekhar Yadav’s knack for ‘unsolicited advice’

Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav has made news in the past with statements like "cow is the only animal that exhales oxygen"

Representative image
Representative image

Mohd Asim Khan

As the poll cauldron in Uttar Pradesh began to simmer and political pundits smelt whiff of ‘change’ in the air, an honourable judge of the Allahabad High Court has suddenly got wary of political rallies amid Covid and “suggested” that the Assembly elections due in just two months from now, may be postponed.

The fear that coronavirus, or its new variant Omicron, may spread rapidly through the crowded political rallies suddenly gripped the learned judge during a bail hearing. Apparently, seeing several lawyers in the courtroom not maintaining social distancing and/or wearing masks, it suddenly dawned on Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav that huge public meetings may become super-spreaders of coronavirus.

"If rallies are not stopped, results will be worse than the second wave," Justice Shekhar Yadav said, adding that, "Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai (if there is life, we have the world). Sounds familiar? Well, it was the catchphrase used by PM Modi when he imposed a strict nationwide lockdown on a four-hour notice.

Justice Shekhar Yadav also included a paragraph praising the Modi government for the free Covid vaccination programme, and directed the court registrar to send a copy of his order, containing the suggestions, to the Election Commission of India and the Allahabad High Court Registrar-General.

Reacting sharply to the insinuation, senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav on Friday demanded action against Justice Shekhar for coming up with this “unsolicited” piece of advice.

"It is unfortunate that people sitting in important Constitutional posts are now giving such decisions. No one had demanded it and my demand is that the Supreme Court should take suo motu notice and take proper action against the person giving such directions."

Independent media is reporting that huge crowds are turning up at opposition’s rallies, particularly those of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s. On the other hand, the BJP is mobilising state resources to bring in people to PM Modi’s rallies from far off places in UP state transport buses in order to showcase these events as being successful.

Justice Yadav’s cow science

Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav has made news in the past with statements like "cow is the only animal that exhales oxygen", which were not relevant to the case at hand.

On September 1, he observed that "scientists believe that the cow is the only animal that exhales oxygen". He also called on the Parliament to make the cow the national animal and declare cow protection as a "Fundamental Right of Hindus".

Before his elevation to the Allahabad High Court as an additional judge in December 2019, he served as the standing counsel for Uttar Pradesh.

In October, Justice Yadav delivered yet another unsolicited "suggestion" in a judgment, asking the government to consider bringing a law to give "national honour and heritage status" to "Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, Maharishi Valmiki, and Maharishi Ved Vyas".

Views on conversion

In July, in the case of the bail plea of a man accused under the UP anti-conversion law of kidnapping and forcefully converting a girl to Islam, Justice Yadav noted in his order, “We come across news of the poor, disabled, and women getting converted after they are brainwashed by external sources. The worst thing is that these practices are funded by elements outside the country and solely done for the purpose of damaging the nation.

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