Cuttack: 09.01.2014: OBB:Judges not above the law to face the touch stone of integrity. Selection for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary of the country has now become a mockery of the mechanism as evidenced from the recent scene occurred in the high Court of Madrass (Chennai) .The judges decided to introduce the mechanism for selection of judges by the judges’ collegium is understood to be a kind of empty formality which basically depends on the view of the Chief justice of the said high court inasmuch as the Chief Justice has the privilege to recommend the transfer of judges appears to him not suitable in his judicial combination.
No recall system other than impeachment is yet devised in the judiciary.Increasing the strength of judges is not vital but judges with quality as required for being a judge of the high court regardless of service seniority or closer to the judges in apex court , is the requirement of the country which is utmost thought of the day.
Demanding transparency in the appointment of new judges and recalling a list of 12 names sent to the Supreme Court, over 15,000 advocates of Madras High Court on Wednesday boycotted the court proceedings.The advocates on Tuesday had laid siege to the chambers of the Chief Justice R.K. Agarwal and shouted slogans demanding him to be transparent in the selection process. “If only names of those short-listed are shared with the Bar, the judiciary can avoid complications and issues like this. But alas, the whole process is not transparent and that is why we have decided to agitate and boycott the court proceedings on Wednesday,” R.C. Paul Kanagaraj, president, Madras High Court Advocate Association (MHAA), had said.
Another major grievance of the advocates is the inclusion of three advocates, all Brahmins, into the selection list for appointment as High Court judges. In fact, when a group of lawyers laid siege to chief justice’s chamber, they openly shouted slogans against the inclusion of three Brahmin names in the list. “Already there are seven Brahmin judges in the Madras High Court. If three more are added, their strength will become 10 and this will constitute 15 per cent of the total strength which is 60. There are several castes and communities which are not at all represented in the list,” said J. Stalin Rajendran, an agitating advocate. In fact, senior lawyer R. Gandhi, in a PIL filed in the High Court, contended in his petition that the inclusion of three Brahmins in the list was not only contrary to the prevailing practice of appointments on the basis of merits but also against social justice. When the PIL came up for hearing before a division bench, Gandhi’s counsel urged the matter to be referred to another bench as one of the judges was a Brahmin and another judge’s senior’s son’s name was also in the present list. Acceding to the demand, the bench transferred the PIL to a different bench. Meanwhile, a large number of advocates want the present collegium system of appointments scrapped and seek a more transparent and viable system for the selection of judges. “Entrance tests are conducted for office assistant’s jobs. But for judges’ appointments, just three persons make the selection. This collegium system should be done away with. Appointments should be transparent and on the basis of merit. Moreover, it should be done as recommended by Justice K. Venkatachaliah’s recommendations on the basis of giving representation to all sections of society,” advocate V. Balu told India Today Online on the phone.
High Court Bar Association of Madrass unlike Orissa high court under the able leadership of its president RC Paul Kanagaraj has stood on its heels to bring reformation in judiciary which has been corroborated with the voice of the siting judge of the said High Court, at the capacity of a common citizen of the country.
Collegium is a concept devised by judiciary itself in order to arrest the system of transparency in the selection of judges and shape a secret corridor to satisfy the cause of favoritism ,nepotism by selecting personalities for constitutional post is allowed to proceed in a country where the voice of the people is considered to be the voice of the nation.
The collegium of judges in High Court comprises of Chief Justice and two other senior most judges ,hence the judge in Madrass coming to challenge had no option to challenge the decision in collegium unless he laddered to the said position.
Indian judiciary has now experienced lot of unbecoming conduct of judges both in their administration and so also discharging judicial obligation cast on them .Instance wise , Guwahati high court stayed a presidential notification appointing KN Srivastava as high court judge. Later, the Supreme Court suo motu transferred the case unto itself and ultimately quashed the very appointment itself as he did not fulfill mandatory eligibility criteria. Justice Karnan has set an example for years to come to justify his fairness in judicial mechanism of the country .Callous is our mind prevailed in Orissa High Court ,most of our judges elevated in to Supreme Court are seen to be camping in Orissa to bring their choices for elevation to judgeship in high court of Orissa .On our survey ,it is learnt from the people ,some of the sitting judges in High Court having no qualitative and active practice in high court are elevated to be the judge of the Orissa High Court.Record suggests Justice A.K.Patnaik of Supreme Court has maximum tours to Orissa on this plea or other mostly revolving around the Chief Justice of the High Court and as rummer comes justice Arjit Passayat has maneuvered his ability by lifting many advocates below the line of consideration for the judgeship of Orissa High Court ,but no reaction as that of the scene visibly seen in Madras High Court other than silent murmuring on the issue among the advocates in Odisha .
Rummer all around ,judges from Odisha state sitting in Supreme Court are found to be desperate to bring most of their liking into the judgeship getting the same passed through the collegium and a bargaining process in among the members of the collegium can not be ruled out when the very mechanism adopted is not transparent .
Some advocates in Orissa High Court are seen to be on their arms to file cases to maintain transparency for the selection of judges in high court ,and advocates in Orisa high court and the High Bar itself ,quite scared of the action of the Chief Justice who gives least importance to the Bar in the process of making changes even in the rules of the high court and bar is silent because some of the aspirant advocates for judgeship maintain studied silence when a cause to oppose comes ;but Madras High court being the leader in the process. has set up a healthy precedent reminding the top brass in judiciary to remain accountable to the nation as a whole .