Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Home / Judicial Accountability

It is important to keep the judiciary in the purview of scrutiny. This section will provide various subjects to get judiciary accountable to common person.

Appointments

Making reference to the K. Veeraswamy’s Case Shri Shanti Bhushan observed that all judges should declare their assets – it should be done with pride! Why raise issues of self-respect? He said only those who have something to hide will be reluctant to disclose their assets! …more

S.P.Gupta: A seven Judges Bench of Supreme Court extensively considered the issues of Independence of Judiciary in relation to the appointment and transfer of Judges, the issue of appointment of the Additional Judges of the High Court, the issue of the privilege of the Government against disclosure of State documents and the scope of judicial review of the powers exercised by the President. …more

While deciding the issue of the locus standi of the petitioning lawyers who had challenged the Circular of the Law Minister and short-term extensions of Additional Judges on ground of attack on the independence of the judiciary, Justice P.N. Bhagwati while upholding their right to do so held that where the effected persons are really helpless, the Supreme Court will not insist on a regular writ petition to be filed by the public spirited individual espousing their cause. The Court will readily respond even to a letter addressed by said individual espousing the public cause.

A bunch of cases were decided together in the present case which were raised in two batches of writ petitions filed in different High Courts which were transferred under Article 139-A to the Supreme Court since they raised common issues of great constitutional importance. One writ was also filed in the Supreme Court. Several more related issues were raised and discussed during the hearing. Each of the Judges delivered a separate judgment.

Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs. Union of IndiaThis case directed to constitute a Bench of nine Judges to examine the two questions referred therein, namely, the position of the Chief Justice of India with reference to primacy, and justiciability of fixation of Judge strength.

Impeachment

Article 124 (4) of Indian Consitution: A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

Justice V. Ramaswamy: The first-ever impeachment motion against a SC judge, Justice V. Ramaswami, was signed by 108 MPs in 1991. A year later, an inquiry found Ramaswami “guilty of willful and gross misuses of office… “While serving as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court”. Ramaswami survived the impeachment process as Parliament got divided along regional lines, southern MPs strongly supported him. Only 196 members of Parliament, less than the required two-thirds, voted for his ouster. … more

A Historic Non-impeachement

Justice M. M. Punchi: This charge sheet was prepared by the Committee on Judicial Accountability in 1998, when Justice Punchhi was a judge of the Supreme Court of India. It was signed by 25 MPs of Rajya Sabha. However, before it could get the signature of the requisite number of 50 MPs of Rajya Sabha, Justice Punchhi was appointed Chief Justice of India. After this, it became virtually impossible to get the Notice of Motion signed by any MPs. Consequently, Notice of Motion could not be presented to the Speaker. The imp lesson of this exercise was that it is very difficult to get the MPs sign the impeachment motion unless three conditions are satisfied. Firstly, the charges must be very serious; secondly they must be provable by documentary evidence which is annexed to the Notice of Motion and finally, the charges must have been given substantial publicity in the media.

In the absence of all the three conditions been satisfied, MPs are afraid and reluctant to sign a charge sheet against a sitting judge. It is normally exceedingly difficult to get documentary evidence to prove charge against sitting judge, particularly in the absence of a statutory investigation by an agency having powers of investigation. Moreover, the bulk of the main stream media is afraid to publicise charges against the sitting judge for fear of contempt. In Ramaswami’s case, the above three conditions were satisfied. Documentary evidence was available against Ramaswami because of the report of the Accountant General who audited the purchases made by Ramaswami as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. This is why, impeachment of judges, however corrupt they might be, is not a practical remedy in discipling them. … more

Justice A.S. Anand: Serious allegations of corruption and favouritism were raised against Justice A.S.Anand former Chief Justice of India pertaining to the period when he was the Judge and the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. ….more

A conflict between law and morality

Contempt

Contempt of court: judgement by Justice Arijit Pasayat

Contempt of court: judgement by Justice Raveendran

Judges in their own cause: Contempt of court by Prashant Bhushan

Contempt of court: need for a second look by J.Markandey Katju

Standing Committee report on Contempt

Affidavits of Arundhati Roy  and Medha Patkar on contempt

Right to Information and Judiciary

Right to Information And The Judiciary By Prashant Bhushan

Investigations against Judges

Justice K. Veeraswamy: Justice K.Veeraswamy the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court was charged for possession of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and a case was filed against him by the CBI under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The High Court of Madras dismissed his Petition for quashing of the Case against him and referred the matter to the Supreme Court for deciding certain questions of law. The Supreme Court while deciding the case against the delinquent Judge laid down strict guidelines to protect the independence of Judiciary according to which no F.I.R. can be registered against a Judge or Chief Justice of the High Court, or a Judge of the Supreme Court without the sanction of the Chief Justice of India in the matter. It was held that the Supreme Court is not a court of limited jurisdiction of only dispute settling, and that the court has been a law maker and it is the courts responsibility and duty to apply the existing law in a form more conducive to the independence of the judiciary. It was also said that any complaint against a Judge and its investigation by the CBI, if given publicity will have a far reaching impact on the judge and the litigant public therefore there is need of a judicious use of taking action under the Prevention of Corruption Act. …more

Judicial Accountability OR Illusion – The National Judicial Council Bill by Prashant Bhushan 

Judicial Accountability by Prashant Bhushan

Mechanisms of Judicial Accountability by Justice J.S.Verma