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Remembering Bloomfield ICS District Judge

February 22, 2018

 

 

Remembering ICS Judges. This is the sentence passed on Gandhiji by Mr Broomfield District Judge of Ahmedabad in 1922:

 

"Mr. Gandhi, you have made my task easy in one way by pleading guilty to the charge.  Nevertheless, what remains, namely the determination of a just sentence, is perhaps as difficult a proposition as a Judge in this country could have to face.  The law is no respecter of persons.  Nevertheless, it would be impossible to ignore the fact that you are in a different category from any person I have ever tried or am likely ever to try.  It would be impossible to ignore the fact that in the eyes of millions of your countrymen you are a great patriot and a great leader; even all those who differ from you in politics look up to you as a man of high ideals and of noble and even saintly life.  I have to deal with you in one character only.  It is not my duty, and I do not presume to judge or criticise you in any other character.  It is my duty to judge you as a man subject to the law, who has by his own admission broken the law, and committed what to an ordinary man must appear to be a grave offence against such law.  I do not forget that you have consistently preached against violence, or that you have on many occasions, as I am willing to believe, done much to prevent violence.

 

 

    "But having regard to the nature of your political teaching and the nature of many of those to whom it was addressed, how you can have continued to believe that violence and anarchy would not be the inevitable consequence, it passes my capacity to understand.  There are probably few people in India who do not sincerely regret that you should have made it impossible for any Government to leave you at liberty.  But it is so, I am trying to balance what is due to you against what appears to me to be necessary in the interest of the public; and I propose, in passing sentence, to follow the precedent of the case, in many respects similar to this case, that was decided some twelve years ago, the case of Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, under the same section.  The sentence that was passed upon him as it finally stood, was a sentence of simple imprisonment for six years.  You will not consider it unreasonable, I think, that you should be classed with Mr. Tilak; and that is the sentence two years' simple imprisonment on each count of the charge, six years in all, which I feel it my duty to pass upon you. "The Judge added, "if the course of events in India should make it possible for Government to reduce the period and release you, nobody would be better pleased than I".

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