None Wiser than the Law is a miniseries of in-depth conversations with Justice MN Venkatachaliah, providing an intimate exploration of the legal realm, his life journey, political insights, and the Indian constitution. The title of this podcast draws inspiration from Aristotle, who said to seek to be wiser than the law is the very thing which is by good laws forbidden. Justice Venkatachaliah, a distinguished figure in the realm of jurisprudence, acknowledges this aphorism in one of his landmark judgments, setting the tone for this series of conversations.
The host, Alok Prasanna Kumar, a co-founder of the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, spoke to former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachaliah in August 2023. Their discussion spans an array of topics, encapsulating the Justice’s journey from a young lawyer to a Supreme Court judge, his landmark judgments, and his insights on the ever-evolving legal landscape and society.
In this first episode, Justice MNV and Alok discuss two landmark judgements delivered by benches headed by Justice Venkatachaliah, namely Kihoto Hollohan v Zachillhu and AR Antulay v RS Nayak. These two cases involved two major political issues that continue to bedevil Indian politics: defections and corruption. In the Antulay case, Justice Venkatachaliah’s judgement says, “to be wiser than the law is what by good laws is forbidden” and that the “well trodden path is the best path”. This captures the essence of Justice Venkatachaliah’s judicial philosophy, as we shall discover this episode.
- Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu And Others 1992 SCR (1) 686,
- A.R. Antulay vs R.S. Nayak & Anr 1988 AIR 1531
- West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937),
- Ferguson v. Skrupa, 372 U.S. 726 (1963),
- Nawab Khan Abbaskhan v. State of Gujarat 1974 SCR (3) 427
- Dineshchandra Jamnadas Gandhi vs State Of Gujarat 1989 SCR (1) 138 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/482324/ (the food inspector case)
- Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra, AIR 2002 SC 1771
- Judicial Remedies in Public Law by Clive Lewis : https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Judicial_Remedies_in_Public_Law/iLtzbwAACAAJ?hl=en&bshm=rimc/1
- Liberty and Corruption : The Antulay case and beyond by Upendra Baxi : https://books.google.co.in/books/about/Liberty_and_Corruption.html?id=6eWSAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y