SC judge seeks full court sitting to tackle executive interference in judiciary
29 March 2018
A Supreme Court judge asked the Chief Justice of India, seeking a full court hearing to tackle alleged executive interference in the judiciary.
Justice Jasti Chelameswar, who was part of the team of four senior-most judges who had held a press conference in January (See: Judges' revolt: Centre unlikely to intervene; AG expects quick resolution), questioning the allocation of cases by the chief justice, warned that “the bonhomie between the judiciary and the government in any state sounds the death knell to democracy.”
In a letter written on 21 March to the chief justice, Chelameswar referred to the “unhappy experience” of the government sitting over files even after the collegium had recommended names for appointment of judges.
Chelameswar, who retires from the apex court on 22 June, also sent copies of his letter to 22 other SC judges.
“For some time, our unhappy experience has been that the government's accepting our recommendations is an exception and sitting on them is the norm,” he wrote. “Inconvenient but able judges or judges-to-be are being bypassed through this route.”
Chelameswar questioned the probe initiated by the chief justice of the Karnataka high court against a district and sessions judge at the behest of the Union ministry of law and justice.
“Someone from Bangalore has already beaten us in the race to the bottom,” wrote Chelameswar. “The Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court is more than willing to do the Executive bidding, behind our back.”
He said any correspondence has to be between the executive and the Supreme Court and not with other judges. “To my mind, I could recollect no instance from the past, of the executive bypassing the Supreme Court, more particularly while its recommendations are pending, to look into the allegations already falsified and conclusively rejected by us,” he wrote.
“Asking the high court to re-evaluate our recommendation in this matter has to be deemed improper and contumacious.”