31 October, 2020

Who's To Judge

Should J.S. Verma proceed against his probable successor?

Who's To Judge

EVEN as the Bar closes ranks in defence of the senior-most Supreme Court Justice, M.M. Punchhi, who is accused of improprieties by a group of senior lawyers, legal opinion is divided on the course of action open to the government. Especially since there are only three months to go before the chief justice retires and Punchhi takes over on January 18.

A section of lawyers maintains the ball is in chief justice J.S. Verma's court. Says Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve: "There are few judges as willing to examine the conduct of the judiciary." Prashant Bhushan, a member of the Committee on Judicial Accountability (COJA) which levelled the charges against Punchhi, agrees. The code of conduct drawn up by Verma, and subsequently adopted by the apex court, provides for an in-house inquiry into charges against a sitting judge. "But no specific procedure has been laid down," he notes.

However, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Kapil Sibal claims that only a bar association can file a complaint against a...



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