Judiciary at the crossroads

Let people have full faith in this institution of justice

B.A. Bashir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 22 2018 10:53PM | Updated Date: Jan 22 2018 10:53PM
Judiciary at the crossroads

Democracy is based on three pillars. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. With the passage of time the freedom of expression (guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India) was laid out as one of the fundamental rights. That made fourth estate the pillar of a civilised society. All the three initial pillars have their importance. But amongst them it is the Judiciary which in some respects had more role and responsibility to play so that democracy does not only survive but remains vibrant and fully protected as well. This is the reason Judiciary is considered as watchdog of the constitution as well as guardian of the fundamental rights of the citizens. Parliament or in other words Legislature is supreme and sovereign body having right to frame laws and to govern the country. While they have right and jurisdiction to amend the constitution yet whether any law framed meets the constitutional requirement or not can be decided by judiciary only. To what extent parliament can go in amending the constitution is also determined by Judiciary. Even if two thirds majority of Parliament passes a law only, few judges of Supreme Court can declare it unconstitutional and void. In short judiciary has a more dominant role and responsibility to discharge while performing its duty particularly being custodians of the fundamental rights of citizens. Hence this institution has to be above board in all respects.

Recent developments though unfortunate yet based on hard facts have exposed the myth of free, fair and independent judicial system when Senior most four Judges publicly exposed that Supreme Courts Judicial administration is not in order. Having happened for the first time from independence it has sent shockwaves throughout the country. People connected directly and indirectly with this institution were divided in two blocks. One which fully supported these bold judges and another who said they should have solved the issue internally without tarnishing the image of the institution. Fact of the matter is judicial system has been polluted for a long time but no remedial measures were taken to stop the intrusion of corrupt and dishonest elements in this system. Hence one day it had to explode which it did few days before. Justice Barocha as ex Chief Justice of India few years before said Publicly 20% of the Judges are Corrupt but nothing was done to stem the rot. Constitutional mechanism of impeaching a corrupt Judge due to political reasons has failed to deliver. That is why sole instance of impeaching Justice V.Ramaswami also failed in parliament in early nineties. No effective alternate mechanism has emerged to remove corrupt judges.

Rot is so deep in the system. Justice Chelmeshwar said we have to come out to expose what is happening so that after twenty years someone may not say we had sold our conscience. 

(B.A. Bashir is Sr. Advocate)

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