Skip to main content

Affront on institutional independence of judiciary, callous disregard to problems of ordinary litigant

Allahabad High Court
Statement by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms:
2016 marked a year of abrasive disagreement between the judiciary and the government especially over the issue of judicial appointments. While both the judiciary and the government may have us believe that transparency in the working of public functionaries is critical in a democracy, it is ironic that there has been complete opacity from both these institutions where disclosing a draft of the memorandum of procedure for appointments to the High Court and Supreme Court is concerned. 
This process has been shrouded in secrecy, excluding public participation in this crucial process. Repeated requests from the Campaign for a draft of the memorandum to be shared as well as a Campaign draft memorandum sent to the government and the judiciary, have received no response.
The efficient functioning of the judiciary rests on steady and regular appointments. These appointments have been stalled or delayed by this government’s inaction in clearing several appointments sent by the collegium to the government in the last year.
In a recent move, the Union Government's act of returning thirteen names of persons recommended to be judges of the Allahabad High Court to the Supreme Court collegium for reconsideration, is an affront to the institutional independence of the judiciary, and shows callous disregard to the problems of the ordinary litigant. 
As per the law well settled by the Supreme Court in the Second and Third Judges' cases, the Union Government is not entitled to engage in an endless back and forth over the recommendations for appointment of judges to the High Court and the Supreme Court. 
Once the recommendations are re-iterated by the Collegium of judges, the Union Government is constitutionally obligated to process the recommendations and appoint such persons as judges at the earliest. The Union Government's present action is thus unwarranted and unconstitutional.
It is well known that the Allahabad High Court suffers from the highest number of vacancies in judicial posts, and thereby a crippling problem of delay and arrears in disposing of cases. 
Far from working with the judiciary to address these issues and ensuring the quick reduction of vacancies, the Union Government has stalled the process for ulterior motives.
Further, it is not just the judiciary that is at the receiving end of the governments apathy and attempt to compromise the integrity of independent institutions. 
The government has not appointed the Lokpal despite the Parliament enacting the law in 2014. The Whistleblowers Protection Law also remains un-notified. Existing bodies such as the Information Commission have suffered due to large number of vacancies for long periods, with the resultant inability to carry out their mandate, which further undermines the objective of the law. 
With the media reporting that in the VIP copter scam politicians may now to be a focus of CBI probe, it becomes apparent why the government in a deliberate dereliction did not convene a meeting of the selection committee to select a full-fledged CBI director as mandated under the law.
This appalling lack of respect for institutional mechanisms on the part of the Union Government has been a recurring phenomenon of late.
The people of India have elected the present Government to govern in accordance with the law and existing institutional boundaries. Far from addressing the grievances of litigants who are unable to access justice, the Union Government has simply ignored them and worsened their problems.
Therefore, we call upon the Union Government to cease this charade and resolve to act in accordance with the law and the Constitution and address the problems of the litigants by immediately appointing all the recommended persons to the Allahabad High Court. 
The repeated raising of petty objections suggests that the Union Government has no intention of letting the judiciary fill the posts with competent, independent minded judges. Condemning this disturbing trend, we reiterate the need for the judiciary to be a firm, independent and uncompromising check on the government.

Comments

TRENDING

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Skewed sex ratio 'behind' ban on rural Thakor girls' mobile use, inter-caste marriage

By Jharna Pathak*
On July 14, 2019, the Thakor community of 12 villages of Banaskantha district in Gujarat announced a ban on the use of mobile phones by unmarried women. Simultaneously, they imposed penalties on inter-caste marriages. The family of any girl of the community marrying without the consent of her parents would now be fined Rs 1.5 lakh while that of a boy marrying a girl from other community without his family’s consent would be penalised with a fine of Rs 2 lakh.

Were JVCs, rock cutters 'reinforcing' Statue of Unity base on dry Narmada riverbed?

By Kevin Antao* 
Having seen photographs and write-ups on the world’s tallest Statue of Unity, constructed and assembled off Narmada dam in South Gujarat, I always wanted to visit the site and see for myself the great marvel that it was being made out to be.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt promotes low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Sardar Patel's 'notable' achievement on J&K: Insertion of Article 370 in Constitution

By Shamsul Islam*
One of the "truths" manufactured in the boudhik shibirs (ideological training camps) of the RSS is that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who forced Article 370 on India while Sardar Patel, the first home minister of India, was opposed to it. The RSS leaders both inside the Modi government and outside ceaselessly keep on blaming Jawaharlal Nehru as the sole architect of Article 370, giving Kashmir special status.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

J&K curbs 'violate' International Covenant on civil, political rights: Letter to Modi

Counterview Desk
The International Federation for Human Rights (IFDH), a Paris-based human rights NGO with global presence, has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the decision to “reconfigurate” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), remove its special status and impose a “complete lock-down of the region” violates Kashmiris’ “fundamental right to self-determination and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives.”