24 October, 2020

Judgement Day

Should judges be judged? The answer, in view of allegations of misconduct, is obvious. The debate is on how to do it.

illustration by Jayachandran
Judgement Day
Three years after the conference of chief justices resolved to adopt a code of conduct for the higher judiciary, recent charges of misconduct by judges of various high courts have once again focused attention on the need for a strong dose of judicial accountability. The charges are serious enough—from sexual harassment to carousing in a restaurant to nepotism—to have prompted Supreme Court Chief Justice G.B. Pattanaik to conduct independent inquiries into all the allegations. If personally satisfied that there is a prima facie case, he says he may even ask the concerned judges to resign.

While Justice Pattanaik (see interview) believes that the Supreme Court's in-house procedure for dealing with such cases is adequate, many legal experts feel Parliament must enact a law to make the code of conduct for judges mandatory. Says former CJI A.S. Anand: "Judges are accountable to one billion people. With that in view, a committee of SC judges drafted a code of conduct (Restatement of Values in Judicial Life) which was adopted by all the high courts. We also drafted a procedure...


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