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Statement on transparency in appointments & judicial independence

CAMPAIGN FOR JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND REFORMS

6/6 basement, Jangpura B, Delhi – 110014

judiciareforms@gmail.com, judicialreforms.org

Executive Committee: Prashant Bhushan, Nikhil Dey, Cheryl D’souza, Venkatesh Sundaram, Indu Prakash Singh, Devvrat, Siddharth Sharma, Dipa Sinha, Annie Raja, Rohit Kumar Singh, Pranav Sachdeva, Alok Prasanna Kumar, Ramesh Nathan, Vipul Mudgal, Indira Unninayar, Madhuresh Kumar, Vijayan MJ, Koninika Ray, Anjali Bharadwaj, Amrita Johri


17th September 2019

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms strongly condemns the statement of the Supreme Court collegium dated 12th September 2019, refusing to disclose reasons for the transfer of Justice VK Tahilramani as Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court as Chief Justice. At a time when the public’s confidence in the judiciary has been low, this transfer which, on the face of it, seems punitive has lowered it further. It is incumbent upon the collegium to make clear the reasons for such transfer and dispel any doubts about its independence and fairness. Refusing to do so serves no institutional purpose and instead weakens the institution of the judiciary by making it less transparent.

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability also notes with concern the Supreme Court’s inadequate response to Uttar Pradesh minister Mukut Bihari Vera’s statement claiming that the Supreme Court is going to decide the Ayodhya case in a certain way. This statement has raised doubts in the minds of average citizens about the independence and neutrality of the court, given the wide coverage it has received, and a strong institutional response was needed. However the verbal observation of the court during the Ayodhya case has fallen far short. More so when the court was very quick to issue contempt notice to a political leader belonging to the opposition for misquoting its judgement in the Rafale papers case.

We call upon the Supreme Court to restore the faith is the people in the institution of the judiciary by  immediately disclosing the reasons for transfer of High Court judges and resolving to disclose detailed reasons for all transfers in the future.