EDITORIAL

Independence of Judiciary

If we go by the recent happenings in the Supreme Court, all is not well with the affairs of the Judiciary. Four senior most Judges of the Supreme Court going to media raising their voice against the style and functioning of the Chief Justice is quite contrasting to the Constitutional concept and mandate of independence of Judiciary. It there was any grievance, they could have and ought to have tackled the same with the in house mechanism maintaining the dignity and independence of Judiciary instead of projecting the politicians. One of the Judges has also remarked that if the second senior most Judge of the Supreme Court is not made the next Chief Justice of India after retirement of the present Chief Justice, their allegations would come true. This kind of utterances seriously prejudice one of the basic structures of the Constitution i.e. the independence of judiciary.

Another dangerous feature that has recently cropped up in the functioning of the Supreme Court collegium is to take interview or interact with the probable Judges recommended by the High Courts. Instances have come to notice that many such recommended lawyers for judgeship have been rejected after interacting with them, not because of their lack of performance, but for other reasons not disclosed maintaining transparency. If such rejection is to be there, it is not undisclosed why it is so only after interacting with them giving the impression that they have been rejected because of lack of performance in the interaction, which last for only few minutes. I personally know one such case. Recently one senior Advocate of Gauhati High Court, who was recommended by the High Court collegium has been rejected by the Supreme Court Collegium after interacting with him. It is heartening to know that, because the advocate concerned is with impeccable integrity and known for his indepth legal knowledge and outstanding ability. Compare to some others who have been recommended and cleared by the Supreme Court collegium, he will definitely stand apart on merit being by far Superior to them.
The Supreme Court collegium facing objection to the union law Ministry’s quarry regarding sexual harassment by a District Judge who has been cleared for appointment as High Court Judge has written to the Chief Justice as to the authority of such quarry by the Law Ministry. On the other hand, as the report goes, the Law Ministry has written to the Chief Justice as to how it escaped the notice of the senior Judges of the Supreme Court, the allegation of sexual harassment on the part of the said District Judge.
These developments are not at all a healthy sign for an independent Judiciary. Constitutional mandate for independence of Judiciary must be maintained at all cost and can not be allowed to play with  even by a shadow of doubt. Hope this serious issue will receive due attention of those at the helm of affairs and there will be no occasion to question the independence of Judiciary. 
Bikalpa Kashyap,
Panbazar, Guwahti-78 1001