It is easy to tell that Indians are bored and under lockdown, when a picture of the Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde, astride a limited edition black Harley Davidson, ends up making headlines and causing a Twitter storm.
A scurry of comments, retorts and reprimands followed after a picture of CJI Bobde on an exorbitantly expensive bike, which some reports suggest is worth Rs 50 lakhs, was shared on the microblogging website. While some called Bobde out for not wearing his mask, others called him ‘cool’. Some wisecracks even accused him of ‘taking justice for a ride’.
Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha expressed his ‘likeness’ for people who ‘love’ life. He lauded CJI Bobde for not having a ‘false sense of protocol’. Okay then.
I like ppl who love life. No false pretensions. No false sense of protocol. Lutyens delhi full of such ppl. Just saw this pic on social media of our current CJI Sharad Bobde. A different person. Positions come & go. But you hv 1 life. pic.twitter.com/EFEr23KdP0
— Vivek Tankha (@VTankha) June 28, 2020
Another Twitter user’s investigative finesse took the cake. He claimed that the bike was owned by the son of a BJP leader in Nagpur, which proves that the independence of the Indian judiciary was under attack. While I agree with the sentiment about the state of Indian judiciary, a CJI’s photo with a bike doesn’t mean anything.
Twitter was so surprised by CJI Bobde’s picture that users turned into kindergarten kids who cannot fathom that their teachers have a life beyond school. Why is it that people don’t wince once when celebrities like former cricket captain M.S. Dhoni flaunt their bikes and cars?
Ask the right questions
Turns out that Bobde loves bikes (surprise, surprise). Media reports revealed that he is ‘very familiar’ with the motorcycle models Bullet, Jawa and Rajdoot.
Some sources revealed, “Like other judges are fond of badminton or golf, biking is a sport for the Chief Justice. He used to go on long drives on his Bullet in his college days, and early days as a lawyer.”
Now that you have been blessed with this information, ask yourself — what exactly did you gain from it?
Anyone who is surprised by CJI Bobde liking bikes is catching the wrong end of the stick. Let’s suppose for a moment that this buzz is worth pondering over, what we eventually get after delving into the CJI’s love for bikes is zilch.
A question actually worth asking is why did the CJI choose to display an aspect of his life that wouldn’t sit tastefully with the public during a pandemic, when many citizens are being denied not just basic resources, but access to justice, something Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan rightly pointed out.
While Bobde’s mere likeliness for an inanimate object made it to the national headlines with just one picture, a harrowing episode of police brutality had to be brought to national attention by an RJ through a now-viral video on Instagram. People had to be slapped with a video describing gruesome details of police brutality to finally rage against the alleged custodial killing of Jayaraj and Bennix in Tamil Nadu.
One can’t help but wonder, and shudder, about other cases of state-sanctioned killings that go unreported.
Twitter gives a platform to all. And when I say all, I mean all thoughts and questions as well. There’s considerable merit to asking questions that matter. Being swayed by powerful people being photographed with swanky things is not worth anyone’s time or thoughts.
Views are personal.