issues linger

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Jan 2018 11:30:49

EVEN if the crisis in the honourable Supreme Court is claimed to have been sorted out, much to everybody’s relief, many issues still linger about points raised by the fours senior-most dissenting judges. Most unfortunately, when the four judges raised those points, many people in the legal community as well as in politics supported the move as if something terrible and untoward had been brought to fore. Yes, whatever the four judges did was certainly unprecedented and untoward, but the points they raised did not have much substance. Yet, because they raised those points and many supported them, there is a need to understand certain realities which the four judges did not take into consideration. 

One of the most serious-sounding issues was about the decision of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Mr. Justice Dipak Misra to indulge in “selective allocation” of cases to hand-picked junior judges. The moment this charge went up in the air, so many people even from the legal community sided with the dissenting foursome and started making allegations that ranged from raucous to bizarre.

Factually, however, the charge had little substance. For, every judge of the Supreme Court has come to coveted position after having served a High Court as its Chief Justice for a reasonable length of time. Before rising to the position of the High Court’s Chief Justice, he -- or she -- has served as judge of the High Court. This has given the person ample experience - in addition to personal expertise - to tackle cases of any nature and complexity. For reasons the common man can never understand, the four dissenting judges picked up this issue of some judges being junior, in the process raising questions about the capability of the judges and dignity of the institution of the Supreme Court.

Not only did the foursome doubt the capabilities of their brother judges but also tried to tell the world that in the process of selective allocation of cases to hand-picked judges, the CJI was toying with the fundamental principles and canons of justice. It was necessary to bring to fore these realities for the benefit of common people. For, the most serious charge was “selective allocation” to junior and hand-picked judges, implying that the process of justice was tampered with.

It is good that the crisis has been sorted out, no matter that the people are not privy to the details. Yet, it is also necessary that the country and experts takes a good look at what is happening at various levels of the judicial system. It is common knowledge that the process of deliverance of justice in India has many things that are far from satisfactory. Delay in tackling of cases, fearfully huge pendency of cases at all levels, absence of adequate number of judges at all levels, large number of holidays available to judges annually, are some of the issues that have been dogging the Indian judicial system at all levels. These challenges need to be addressed on an urgent basis mainly by the honourable Supreme Court. The need is to look for a revolutionary approach to the process of law and justice so that the common people benefit from its smartness.

Of course, raising these issues at this juncture is a digression. The reality is that the dissent demonstrated openly by the four judges also has exposed how certain elements tried to extract political mileage out of the episode. Our political community should be ashamed of these elements in its folds. For, these elements did not ever try to understand the reality and went about stating nonsensical things. They were ready to believe that it was the Government that was perpetrating the wrongdoing. This was the most unfortunate and undesirable thing to happen. The episode exposed these elements as well in our political community.