[Editorial Analysis] All is still not well in Court Last

Mains Paper 2: Polity

Prelims level: Appointments in SCs

Mains level: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government

Context

• Independence of the judiciary, transparency and accountability in the institution and so on.

• Three of the judges have since retired, and the fourth, Justice Ranjan P Gogoi, has become the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

• The first major issue is the idea of the CJI as the “master of the roster”.

• UK, Canada and Australia, the allocation of work and the selection of benches is a consultative process, and necessarily involves a culture of trust.

Background

• Alternatively, there are clear and defined rules in this regard, as, for example, in the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice.

• Even in high courts in India, at no point is the chief justice considered or made to believe that he/she is superior to other judges in the court.

• A former chief justice of the South Korean Supreme Court was recently arrested delay trials in war-related compensation cases.
• Urgent reforms in this regard are necessary.

• The second issue is of how appointments to and transfers within the higher judiciary continue to be made. Equally problematic is the overwhelming silence of the government.

• Memorandum of Procedure for making judicial appointments need to be finalised.

Way forward

• Ideally, in any democratic set-up, we need the best individuals running the judiciary selecting judges on merit.

• The third issue “sealed cover” as a means of receiving information about cases.

• This is completely against the idea of open, transparent justice.

• In the National Register of Citizens case, for example, the lives of lakhs of people hinge on sealed covers. The fourth issue is about post-retirement appointments.

• Even Arun Jaitley once famously remarked in Parliament that pre-retirement judgments were influenced by post-retirement assignments.

• The fifth issue is that of the appeal made to the Supreme Court by itself against the order of the Delhi High Court on the applicability of the Right to Information Act, 2005, to the judiciary.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO), which has recently been granted clearance will be located in which the following hills?

(a) Nandi Hills

(b) Billirangan hills

(c) Bodhi Hills

(d) Palani hills

Ans: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Discuss current problems and possible solutions in Indian Judiciary.

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