11 May, 2021

Reform Thyself, Learned Judges

In a democracy, judges being disciplined by the executive is not an option because it defies the basic principle­ of separation of powers

Illustration by Saahil
Reform Thyself, Learned Judges

Judges of the Supreme Court and high courts call each other “brother” or “sister”. But relations bet­ween them are not always happy, be it during court proceedings or behind the scenes. We get to know of these through that well-known media—the Rumour Express. The latest revelation came from Justice Jasti Chelameswar. On September 3, we heard of Chelameswar refusing to participate in the powerful collegium of the top five judges, which approves appointments to the higher judiciary. In 2015, the Supreme Court had struck down the constitutionally instituted National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), essentially because it was deemed suspect and clumsy. Chelameswar dissented. Since December 3, 2015, he has been one of the five judges in the collegium, and will be there until June 22, 2018. During this period, the collegium will be presided by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, then J.S. Khehar and, finally, Dipak Misra. If Chelameswar sees problems with Thakur, one cannot foresee Justice Khehar not being imperious.

As a high court chief justice,...

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