There was this Captain of a ship which set sail from a port to another somewhere in the Middle East. On the way, a storm brewed and all the passengers, the crew and the Captain realised that their journey was in jeopardy and escaping with their Lives became their ONLY PRIORITY. Bad Times don’t support our pet theories and ideologies, consequently, the Captain of the ship issued an edict as follows:
So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
The Shipmaster was the Captain of the ship proceeding to Tarshish from Joppa and the sleeper was Jonah, a Jewish Prophet, running away from the instructions of his God to proceed to Nineveh.
The Captain says: O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. The Captain’s personal beliefs notwithstanding chides the sleeping Jonah to call upon HIS GOD and doesn’t even ask the sleeping Jonah to identify his religion or the name of the God he worshipped.
The prayers sought was for the storm to subside but the answer came from Jonah, who felt penitent and told the Captain to throw him overboard. Sure enough the crew, Captain and the passengers threw Jonah out and sure enough the storm abated.
Well it is not uncommon to say that God had plans, rather other set of plans to deal with the errant Jonah. Doctrinally that ‘plan of God’ is odious to my ears and thought. God is God and Time is in His hands. God could do anything, so why plan? Plan is a forethought of a
possible future. When it is God who creates ‘future’, where would be the necessity of a Plan? Plan is an anthropomorphic idea laden with the deficiencies of human understanding. Why ascribe that to God?
God send a fish which swallows Jonah and he his transported to another location and he finally lands up in Nineveh.
The point of this blog is that, when absolute necessity arises in one’s life one may surrender to the will of God, whom he or she believes. But as a Captain of a ship, having the responsibility of the ship, the goods in the ship and the human lives involved it is the DUTY OF THE CAPTAIN not to ascertain the names of the gods those humans worship but to exhort every human in his ship to pray to HIS OWN GOD. That full-throated participative prayer is what a Captain is to exhort and hope for a relief.
The prayer was not answered in the way it was imagined. Till Jonah was offloaded, the storm did not subside. The proposal itself came from the person who was to suffer the consequences of his own proposal. That is how the prayers of those who called their own God’s was answered.
My best example for Secularism is the Captain of that ship caught in the storm with Jonah.
Getting human participation retaining their own beliefs is more important than proselytising humans in distress or cataloguing them during distress.
Like that Captain, leaders ought to shed the divisive distinguishing mapping of people and exhort them to give their best.
Archive for the ‘common sense’ Category
Some of the conflicts which have arisen between contemporaneous Prophets are interesting. I rely on the Prophets and prophecies exclusively from the Bible, not merely because I trust the Bible but because I don’t trust the way the Bible is being interpreted to suit the preacher’s priorities.
Week before last I had the opportunity of attending a service at King’s Temple, Hyderabad. The preacher, not only spoke on Tithes, but also caveated the listeners that one should Tithe only at the local church, which supports its members of the congregation and explicitly warned the congregation against contributing to the Tele-evangelists out of the Tithes. Understandably, Malachi 3:10 was pressed into service.
You may call me a forum shopping Christian, if you choose to. I would fain listen to a well read Osho on Christianity than listen to a ‘fire & brimstone’ doomsday preacher stirring up unsavoury anxieties to make the listeners submit to their agenda on their avowed ‘distributive infrastructure enabling’ programmes.
I believe, and firmly at that, that God given Liberty cannot be mindlessly squandered away at these exhortations which are neither consistent with the Bible nor with the teachings of Jesus.
Micaiah s/o Imlah and Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah, stake it out in I Kings 22 chapter.
Zedekiah had mustered the support of 400 other prophets who had prophesied that if Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war together against Syria to regain Ramoth-Gilead for Israel, Ahab along with the King of Judah Jehoshaphat would defeat the Syrians. But there is one lone voice against that prophecy by another Prophet Micaiah, who says that a ‘lying spirit’ had fallen upon the other 401 prophets and that Micaiah saw the Israelites ‘shepherdless’. The way these two prophets confront each other is dramatic and versified well:
24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
The issue raised was not that Zedekiah had become possessed by the ‘lying spirit‘ but how did the ‘Spirit of the Lord’ get into Micaiah? That was the question of Zedekiah. Zedekiah would that all the prophets were wrong so that the blame could be laid on the King or the people. But when the prophecies are contrary to each other, and there are two camps of Prophets with two contrary prophecies, the one who turns out to be right is likely to have an upper hand post, the event. This division cannot be countenanced by Prophets. They stand united or they rise united, but never fall. Here, by hindsight we know that Zedekiah fell.
Similar situation arose in Chapter 27 of Jeremiah, wherein Jeremiah prophesied thus:
8 And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
9 Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:
The interesting part of this prediction was that Zedekiah, probably a close relative of the reformer King Josiah, was the then ruler of Judah and probably wanted to become a sovereign and not continue to be a vassal King of the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar. At the same time he did not want to lose control over the king of Edom, the king of Moab, king of the Ammonites, king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, who had sent messengers to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah, either as bringers of tribute or for a conclave of the emissaries of vassal kings led by Zedekiah.
In any case the situation was not very appetising. Jeremiah makes it worse by bringing out a prophecy, which I am unable to digest.
The Almighty God makes a Jewish Prophet say that not only Nebuchadnezzar but his son and grandson would rule over their kingdom without any recourse for the Israelites to repent and gain remission for that remaining period. Has Jeremiah forgotten that Yahweh had commuted the sentence decreed on Hezekiah; has Jeremiah forgotten that Yahweh had given options to King David to choose a sentence out of three?
In the next chapter there is s counter Prophecy by Hananiah, which like the previous set of prophets, is equally dramatic:
10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it.
11 And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.
12 Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,
13 Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.
14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.
15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.
17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.
Quite curiously, Hananiah prophesies this in the fifth month of that year and dies after Jeremiah’s prophecy, in the seventh month of the same year.
Jeremiah, instead of extolling the mercies and long suffering nature of the Almighty is ‘prophesying’ that God had given the lands to Nebuchadnezzar, who in the meanwhile probably was erecting a big statue, said to be Nebuchadnezzar’s god, in Babylon, and busy decreeing that everyone should prostrate before that statue. Ridiculous. I am sure and believe that God knew what Nebuchadnezzar was doing back in Babylon when Jeremiah was making those prophecies.
I find this prophecy to be in tune with the Prophecy of Caiaphas in John 11 thus:
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
I find no difference between Jeremiah’s and Caiaphas’ prophecies. It was born out of expediency.
I believe in a God, who would confront me and make me go through deeds of penance either through a punishment, but never ever a God who would put the punisher above me and exalt him above me being a part of his flock.
Ezekiel 34 offers a better perspective on the goodness of God.
In any case, Jeremiah doesn’t measure up to the Prophets like Elijah, who not only withstood the might of Jezebel’s influence over Ahab but also exhorted the Israelites, in those trying times, to stick to Jehovah. Nor like John the Baptist, who resisted Herod.
Submitting to a political power that prospers, is one thing but to acquiesce to such political power doesn’t behove a Prophet. Jeremiah falls short and comes out as an expedient Prophet, who saw off his days of vassal-ship of Judah in comfort‼️ No wonder Jeremiah is called a ‘weeping prophet’ – helplessly Hopeless.
What could one expect of a contemporaneous Prophet like Jeremiah with the King Josiah, who was faultless but died in the hands of Neco, the Egyptian. Maybe his circumstances moulded him into a weeping prophet.
Me thinks that Jeremiah had been included in the canonical books of the Bible more because he supported the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar than the Egyptian Pharoahs, who went down in their quest for suzerainty over Canaan.
Unless Prophecies are written like minutes at the time of such utterances, it should be taken with a generous pinch of salt. It is even highly probable that after facts have stabilized, post facto writings could be passed off as fulfilled Prophecies, by the Baruchs and Boswells to enhance the image of their idols.
When one’s mind is infested with spiritual or temporal megalomania it may attract vain persons, who are seriously looking for someone to give them a direction. Such vain persons who lack the brakes of common sense, born out of liberal education, willingly believe those assertions powerfully made by those megalomaniacs.
Hitler’s assertions of superiority was neither tested in the touchstone of a large sample, nor did his assertions acknowledge exceptions. Those vain Germans who fell for that Austrian’s assertions took more than 45 years under the yoke of the victorious Allied powers. It is a pity that that generation of vain men who believed in the fake news of Aryan supremacy reached their graves with the yokes concocted from Nuremberg Trials onwards by the Allied thinktanks‼️
When personal Beliefs justify Facts, objectivity gets thrown out.
If a society is bred on Personal Beliefs, it becomes an excellent breeding ground for Lies.
When Lies get packaged as Truth, the Society which entertains and promotes such Truth, becomes unreliable on Facts and consequently unstable in its path.
#MeToo has set in motion such a possibility. Stale and unverifiable allegations without proofs have started crowding our newsfeed.
The reader is unable to dislodge from his mind, the sympathy the victim deserves, with any certainty of Facts, thus leaving the reader in a Limbo of equivocation.
Yet, videos of Suhel Seth publicly pinching/poking an awardee in the dais, justifies the necessity for such a platform.
I am with the Victims, but who is the Victim?
One of the two pet Christian notions of each generation is that that generation is the culmination of all discoveries and revelations on Christian theology. The Second notion is that the Second Coming of Christ would happen within their generation, for sure.
The first notion is erroneous and the second one could turn out to be false.
As regards the First notion, that notion is a good insulation against reading up the Christian theological material written over the ages, consequently it affords one to be puffed up with a sense of prophetic confidence – Elijah like, being emboldened to tell God that he was the only one who had not fallen to the coercive methods of Jezebel in Baal-ising Israel. But God, who in his en passant reply tells the mortal Elijah that he had reserved for himself 7000 men who had not bent their knees before Baal.
So one day, when my father was still alive, to emphasise the point that Jesus’ healing was conditional, I told him that Jesus always told those whom he had healed that they should SIN NO MORE.
He calmly said: Son read the Bible. Jesus has said that only twice, and both are reported only in the Gospel of John. One was to the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, and the other was to the invalid who had lain in the vicinity of the pool at Bethesda, for a full 38 years.
I scurried to my Bible and read chapters 5 & 8 of the Gospel of John, and found that indeed to that woman and that invalid Jesus had said : Go and sin no more.
I asked my dad: Why did he say that only to these two, whereas the Bible has multiple instances of Jesus having healed many?
I am yet to recover from my Dad’s reply: Son, these were the only two persons in the whole New Testament who NEVER SOUGHT RELIEF FROM JESUS. ONE WAS RECONCILED TO THE FACT THAT SHE WAS AN ADULTERER, AND THE OTHER THOUGHT THAT THE ONLY WAY TO GET HEALED WAS TO BE THE FIRST TO GET INTO THE POOL AFTER THE MOVING OF THE WATERS‼️
These two persons did not ask Jesus for relief, not did anyone else intercede in their behalf, in fact they both were resigned to their condition; one as a sinner deserving being stoned in public; the other one, stuck in the formalism of ‘being the first after moving of the waters’. They neither thought that they deserved relief nor did they believe that there was an option outside their own judgement and knowledge.
These persons when they obtained their relief unsought, had to be intimated not of repentance, but not committing sins in the future, as Jesus had already cleansed them of their past sins through Grace.
I was flabbergasted at his interpretation, I’ve never heard of any such interpretation of GO AND SIN NO MORE, neither before nor after.
I believe that every generation is intimated through Discovery or Revelation from the Bible and to believe that ‘our generation’ is the culmination of all understanding of the Bible is downright erroneous.
As regards the second notion, Jesus’ warnings were aimed at an awareness of human consciousness to be prepared continually, without any backlogs of un-repented sins & unresolved spiritual issues, so that when the end comes, one could stand prepared before the seat of Judgement.
But Jesus’ ‘continual awareness’ and ‘constant doing’, have been hijacked through institutionalised anxiety, by stamping everyone of being perpetually guilty. The more the anxiety the more a man would believe that the end is near. Time hastens. If the end were to be near, then Death is the only option for him to consider. This idea of Death has to be interposed with a more redeeming idea of the Second Coming. But his own unworthiness would rule out him being ‘raptured’. Now that Death has been relegated as a NO OPTION, he has to believe that the Second Coming SHALL HAPPEN WITHIN HIS OWN LIFETIME. Consequently, the Second Coming has become the mechanism for everyone to ignore Death, which could also happen before the Second Coming, yet institutionalised Belief that it SHALL happen before his death, keeps his attention fixed not in being “raptured” but with the anxiety of being LEFT BEHIND‼️
Secondly, it preempts the thought of Death. So why not believe that the Second Coming is imminent? Forgetting fully that no man, not even the Son knows the end of Time.
Instead of following Good and doing Good, PERPETUALLY, everyone is anxiety ridden to predict that end, that day of reckoning, and be prepared and flawless, for that one day!
I fail to understand as a man who has a reasonable understanding of the English language, whether the ‘meaning’ of the words have assumed meanings not conveyed through the words of the statute, and if so, as a common man of normal prudence would my understanding of the law be tenable at all?
Let us read the provisions of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code:
Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCE
Punishment—Imprisonment for 5 years, or fine, or both—Non-cognizable—Bailable—Triable by Magistrate of the first class—Non-compoundable.
Upon a plain reading of the provisions of Section 497 it appears to me that the following ingredients are essential for the commission of the offence.
0. The perpetrator of the offence has to be a male;
0. That male has to have had sexual intercourse with a woman who should, at that time of such intercourse, have been married to a man, other than the perpetrating male;
0. The perpetrating male should know for a fact that the woman with whom he had intercourse was married to someone other than himself, or that the perpetrator should have had reasons to believe that she was married to some other man at the time of such intercourse;
0. Such intercourse should have been without the consent or connivance of the man married to that woman, with whom the perpetrator is alleged to have had sexual intercourse;
0. That such intercourse should not be within the ingredients of the offence of rape; &
0. The woman cannot be made an abettor of this offence.
What I understand of these ingredients is that if a man despite knowing that a woman is married to another man though has sexual intercourse with her with the consent of the married woman (not being rape) but without the consent or connivance of the husband, the PERPETRATING MALE has to be punished under the provisions of Section 497 of the IPC for Adultery.
There are multiple issues which flow out of this offence. If during the subsistence of the marriage, the husband had access to the woman during the period when she conceived the child of the perpetrating male, the presumption in law would be that the HUSBAND OF THE MOTHER OF THE CHILD WOULD BE THE FATHER OF THE CHILD under Section 112 of the Evidence Act.
We have been squabbling in the courts over not bastardising children by skirting illegitimacy issues of a child, but what about perpetrating a lie in the mouth of a child who believes that his/her mother’s husband was her biological father?
If for any reason the child after reaching adulthood finds out that facts were not facts and embarks on a quest to find hi/her biological father, we would not only have a nice Bollywood script on our hands at the cost a generation of such adults, but also traumatise those adults irretrievably.
You might ask: What if the woman had sexual intercourse with a man out of consent from her husband and conceived? In such a case, the risk of exposure is less as the couple had ‘agreed’ and it would not be a ‘discovery’ to the husband consequently the husband may not have any sane reason to expose. The risk at least gets minimised to the extent that the child may not be embroiled in taking sides with either of his/her parents. With Time, the fact could become a non-issue.
The unfairness that follows by casting a burden on an unsuspecting husband to maintain not only the cuckoo but also the she-cuckoo revolts against the much bandied ‘polluter pays’ Principle in the Environmental issues.
There are facts which one can let pass, but as a society, though there are bound to be infringements, we need to uphold certain positions which would not encourage lies which could spill over to generations.
The cuckoo nest story is a lot decent as the egg breaks into a cuckoo and flies out in due course, but in these cases, the she-crows egg itself has been fertilised by the cuckoo!
I am inclined to read the provisions of Sec. 497 as a norm of the society to uphold the Brotherhood of Man. The underlying principle is hoary and timeless: No man in the normal course, wants to nurture and lavish his resources on whom he doesn’t believe to be his child. Much less, leave a legacy at his passing away.
Men leave their women folk behind like Uriah and go to the battlefront to eke out a living, sometimes for honour and mostly impelled by a drive to improve his economic conditions. In his absence, there are bound to be Davids, who might watch, entice, ensnare and subsequently commit adultery, which could end up in conception, as in the case of Bathsheba. But the society has to have some laws in place to assure those menfolk who have to depart in pursuit of business. It is for this reason that this Section was put in place.
Like in any law, it starts with harsh punishments and after achieving a certain threshold of compliance, the law falls into desuetude. Likewise Section 497 had fallen into disuse. But that Damocles’ sword was essential to those Davids, who could go full fledged in sowing their oats on unsuspecting women.
By an amendment to this section in 1992 by the then united Andhra Pradesh Government, this was made into a COGNIZABLE OFFENCE. As in communities, which are quartered by castes, these adulterous issues could end up in spilling of much blood.
To interpret the provisions of Section 497 of the IPC as a triumph of ‘equality of genders’ is ridiculous. If the law had been interpreted by striking down the “abettor” clause as DISCRIMINATORY, in terms of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, I could have conceded, but not when the breach of the bond of brotherhood is not visited with a threat of incarceration.
I see the striking down of Section 497, as the removal of the final societal sanction against breaking the bonds of Brotherhood.
Man has to have some taboos. It is not for nothing that married women in our society were encouraged to wear prominently vermillion on their foreheads as a mark of them being married. Even if one were to get past that, there were rings in the second toes of married women’s feet. The reasons for a man to know that an Indian woman is in a matrimony are plenty, whether he looks her in her eye or looks at her feet. ‘Notice’ can never be wanting, but now that the threat has gone, it is only limited to ‘age’ and ‘consent’.
Yeah! Some direction ‼️
A Fallacy is a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound arguments.
In the movie CASABLANCA, the Protagonist Humphrey Bogart is asked by the German Major, in charge of the then occupied territory of French Morocco: “So what brought you to Casablanca?”
Without hesitation our hero says “For the waters.” (Meaning water springs and spas)
Major Strasser says: “ But there aren’t any spas around here.”
Bogart says, “Oh, I was misinformed.”
Or so the conversation goes. Please don’t pick holes on my recollection of that scene, as that would derail a whole lot of hypotheses I’ve built around it‼️
The point is that Bogart resented the presence of the Germans, and Major Strasser in particular, in Casablanca where Bogart was successfully running his ‘gin joint’ with an adjunct gambling den. The Major had collected, or at least from the tone of Bogart, it appears that Bogart suspected that Strasser had a good idea of Bogart’s colourful unsavoury past and wanted to gain an upper hand over Bogart by either forcing him to tell a lie about his own past and catch him, which Strasser attempted, or admit his past.
Bogart being Bogart, through a line well written by the script writer states: ‘He was misinformed’, thus disengaging our hero from the trap laid by the German Major.
In fact the audience knew that the reply of Bogart was a FALLACY.
Likewise DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY in the IV part of the Constitution, which starts with Article 36, titled ‘Definition’ raises hopes of a detailed explanation of what Directives of State Policy meant, however it peters to adopting the meaning of ‘State’ as defined in Part III of the CoI.
It is through Article 37 that the larger picture is accepted and the functions of DPs are explained.
37.Application of the principles contained in this Part
The provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforceable by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.
There are the following prescribed under this Article, which are:
0. That they are not enforceable by ANY COURT.
0. That the principles laid down are FUNDAMENTAL in the governance of the country; and
0. That a duty has been cast in the State to apply these principles in making laws.
What emerges out of these prescriptions is that neither the state (except through legislating on these principles) nor individuals or entities have recourse to the courts for implementing these ‘principles’ .
Secondly, a duty has been cast on the State to carry out their Legislative mandate under the guidance of these principles.
Read together, it means and only means that in the absence of a Law, these principles cannot be invoked by the Government (means the Executive) nor by individuals or entities.
Whereas, I have seen a Harvard Professor say that these principles are meant to be implemented by the Government, implying that even in the absence of a LEGISLATED LAW, the government could invoke desultorily one of those principles and start implementing their likes and dislikes, as if they are duty bound to implement the same.
I suppose the protection from misuse of this Article is that the even if laws are made ostensibly in pursuance of a Directive Principle, the Law enacted would be subject to the touchstone of the Guarantees granted under the Constitution, like the Fundamental Rights and in the event of a conflict between those legislations and fundamental rights, a fine balance has to be struck by the Higher Judiciary and pronounced on accepted doctrines and principles.
Directive Principles, especially relating to the slaughter of Cow, calf, milch & draught cattle; environmental issues; uniform civil code; and separation of powers have become tools in the hands of self proclaimed implementers of the Directive Principles, which is tragic. .
In the process of Nation building all these issues cannot be taken up at one go, as that would be a severe strain on the resources of the State; and issues which need a gestation period cannot be prematurely taken and forced on the populace, therefore it should be left to the wisdom of the Legislators to legislate. And once the enactment passes the legislative sanctions, the Government and the people would be vested with duties, liberties and rights but not before that.
Clutching at Directive Principles to advance their lopsided agenda, with a partisan motive by a lumpen few, is nothing but intellectual terrorism.
Let us become aware to identify and distinguish a motivated deleterious agenda disguised as an enticing fallacious Constitutional mandate.
The phrase ‘making of laws’ is wide enough to include their interpretation and therefore the courts must inferpret the laws in the ‘light of the Directive Principles’ (Balwant Raj Vs. the Union of India (Uoi) – Supreme Court Judgment 1966 – Dhawan .J)
This interpretation of the law doesn’t appear to be tenable in the light of the clear words of the provisions of the Article which says ‘the duty of the State in applying …’; and the State doesn’t include the Courts. Secondly, Judicial Pronouncements cannot be called as ‘making of laws’ rather they are meant to be ‘interpreting the provisions of law’.