Bedtime Stories for Kids - A Just Verdict

A Just Verdict

Is our legal system working well?” Emperor Akbar asked the courtiers.“Yes, Shahenshah. Our judges are very efficient.They are honest and upright. They know the law, inside out. They dispose off cases quickly. Most cases are decided at the first hearing itself,” said an old courtier.“Our laws are fair and just. All are equal in the eyes of law,” another courtier cooed. Other courtiers, too, sang the same tune. Birbal, however, said nothing. He remained silent while others expressed their views.The Emperor noticed his silence. Why was Birbal so quiet? Perhaps he did not agree with the rest of the courtiers. Perhaps he did not rate the laws of the land as truly efficient. The Emperor frowned; a dozen lines formed on his forehead. Birbal noticed it. So did the rest of the courtiers. Yet Birbal did not say a word.“Birbal!” the Emperor fixed his eyes on Birbal and said in a high-pitched voice, “I fear you don’t have a high opinion of the laws of this land and the way our legal system works.”“Shahenshah!” Birbal turned to the Emperor with a smile.“Am I right in stating that you hold our legal system in contempt?” the Emperor sounded furious.“No, Sire. How could I ever hold that view? But,good laws and good judges alone do not necessarily ensure  justice,”  

Birbal  stopped  as  he  saw  a  guard walking in.“Shahenshah,” the guard saluted in the traditional way.He bent low enough for his outstretched hand to touch the ground. Then he stood up and offered a dozen salaams.“Yes.”“An old man, who says he is a teacher of law, is waiting for an audience. He has brought along a young man who is the old man’s student. He says his student has been quoting the law to deny him his fee. He wants to present his case before the royal Court and seek justice,” the guard explained.“Bring them in,” the Emperor directed the guard. The guard bowed, salaamed and moved out.“A teacher of law says he has been cheated by his student. A student whom he has taught law! That makes the situation very interesting,” Birbal noted.“What makes it interesting?” a courtier asked.“The student had learned law from the teacher. The student, I presume, is now pitting his new found knowledge against his teacher. He must be a clever student.