Nobody is above the law – Nemo est supra legis

Chola King Manuneedhi Cholan 

It was a pleasant start of a day with showers early this morning and a sense of calmness around the place with just the sweet chirping of the birds. An early start to office, hoping to beat traffic (and fail as always – everyone starts early to beat traffic) the roads looked deserted until I reached Anna Nagar – K4 Police Station where there was heavy traffic towards the police station. While I keep looking at the white line ahead of me and steering to stay within the lines not getting on the way of the incoming traffic, I see a nice white car over taking me on my right, with the head lights on (my understanding is that it means a request for the right of way – correct me if I am wrong) into the incoming traffic and another white car behind the first one. Before I could yell at the driver “Where the hell do you think you are going?” I am quick to pause and hold my thought and tongue as I see a red beacon flashing on the first car and the second car with just a red beacon. I was telling myself  “don’t get into an argument with a police officer” (that’s the first thing you get in your head seeing a car with a beacon right?). Oh baby was I in for a surprise? In fact shock. Both cars are that of the Hon’ble Madras High Court Judges. I am not sure whether the Hon’ble Judges were there (I assume there was a High Court Judge inside the first car as the beacon was flashing). While I still wait for the signal to turn green and the long Q of cars before me to move, the two cars just slipped away and long gone. (like Gone in 60 seconds) My memories went back to my first year of law school when I was introduced to legal maxims and one maxim that flashed on my windshield was “Nemo est supra legis” meaning “Nobody is above the law” and the statute of the Chola King Manuneedhi Cholan in the premises of the Madras High Court Campus which I happen to see often accompanying my grand father to Court since my school days. The Chola king believed to have killed his own son to provide justice to a Cow whose Calf was killed under the wheels of his chariot. I pondered over the question of whether the Hon’ble High Court Judges are an exception to this maxim and drew into the heaviest of the rains I have ever seen, reaching office on time.

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