Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Experts call for amendments to prevent judges taking up jobs after retirement

 Experts call for amendments to prevent judges taking up jobs after retirement:

In our highly polarized polity even the acts and decisions of Constitutional Authorities are seen with suspicion by one or the other side. The decisions of the Governors have been controversial and partisan for a long time, especially since 1967 when in many states Congress failed to get a majority. The decisions of High Courts & the Supreme Court have also caused concern, particularly after the supersession of  3 SC judges by Mrs Indira Gandhi and the dubious decision of the Supreme Court that during Emergency under Art 352 of the Constitution right to life ceases to exist. From Golaknath case in 1967 to Keshavanand Bharati case in 1973 & Minerva Mills case in 1980, the Supreme Court questioned the authority of Parliament to amend the Constitution as it wished. In spite of several amendments of the Const to negate these judgments the SC refused to give in and declared that basic structure of the Constitution could not be violated. Even in regard to the appointment of SC & appointment and transfer of HC judges the Supreme court, first in 1983 and then in 1999 affirmed its primacy by interpreting " in consultation" in its own way. However, the decisions of the Supreme Court have not always been consistent. It is true that the lower judiciary is concerned with facts, the High Courts with deficiencies of facts and judgment, the SC is concerned with wisdom, yet the wisdom of the SC has to appear consistent and rational. Many decisions of the Supreme Court raise doubt over its wisdom. The SC feels that RTI Act is not applicable to judiciary; similarly in spite of historic Vishakha judgment the SC can't protect the honour and dignity of its female employees and lawyers. When the SC, due to its power of review has become so powerful, the Union Govt, more often than not, wants to keep it in good humour. And the judges are also human beings like us and the spectre of retirement stares in their face also. The prospect of getting post retirement appointment may colour their judgment. It is in this light that Arun Jaitley made a sensible suggestion that until two years after retirement, SC & HC judges should not be given any assignment.

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