Picture Imperfect

Picture Imperfect

I suspect the presence of an extra element of cynicism in me and am always in conflict with myself to overpower the words unspoken. A friend of mine with a huge stock of ready-made sentences filled with philosophy has conveyed to me the eternal code of conduct to be followed in interpersonal relationships. ‘You are the master of words unspoken and servant of words spoken’. For my friend it was just an offloading of philosophy, which he mugged up from somewhere, but the sentence has worked well with me especially in my interpersonal relationships. If you can timely remember this ‘mantra’ during your interaction with certain judges in court, it can give you heavy professional returns. The judges, of course not all, always loved those lawyers who swallowed appropriate words and comforted them with hollow applauses. I should also not forget the never ending, repetitive arguments (read harassment of judges) in the name of ‘right to argue’ by certain members of my community.

There are occasions where I let myself go off the cynicism full throttle, thanks to ‘The Hindu’ for giving me such an opportunity by publishing a photo today on this inauspicious 13th June. The photo showing judges of Allahabad High Court and Prime Minister Modi with a title ‘picture perfect’. I suspect the title is nothing but an innuendo. Given the journalism practiced by ‘The Hindu’ they must have meant it as ‘picture imperfect’. At first glance, I felt the photo disturbing because I always hated to see the ‘photo ops’ of judges with politicians or executive heads. You may dismiss me by saying that I am being cynic, trying to read more into a photograph. Even otherwise, what is there in a photograph? You have valid arguments and can floor me by showing many such increasing number of photo ops, displayed by the Government publically and the Judges privately. But like certain judges I would like to remain unconvinced by all your arguments. I tried to look at the photo with my own caption as ‘picture imperfect’ and examine it with my cynical eyes. The result is astonishing and they are as follows;



  1. Two judges seated next to Prime Minister, who are obviously senior and who may be retiring very soon, are very receptive to the alleged joke cracked by PM while others in the same hearing distance are not.

  2. The senior judges enjoy the company of Prime Minister than juniors.

  3. All judges in the photo have not equally cherished the idea of this great photo op and they seem to be compelled or cajoled by Senior judges pro active participation.

  4. It seems few youngsters standing have a strong internal protest for making them to stand like school children as if Mr. Modi being their Headmaster.

  5. Few of them must be really thinking about paragraphs they have written in their recently finished judgment about ‘separation of powers’ and the ‘government being largest litigant’ etc

  6. Few must have thought of recently concluded ‘Judicial retreat’ and pacified themselves about the propriety of this photo op.


This ‘unwanted’ and ‘out of place’ theory of ‘separation of powers’ is making me more cynical. You, my lawyer friend, philosopher Montesquieu……, stop troubling me.

P V DineshP.V.Dinesh is a Lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.

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