Tuesday, 9 May 2017



A judiciary-headed (The Chairman was a former Chief Justice of India), judiciary-heavy (six of the eleven members, including the Chairman, were from the legal profession) National Commission to the Review of the Working of the Constitution has observed the following:

'Judicial system has not been able to meet even the modest expectations of the society.  Its delays and costs are frustrating, its processes slow and uncertain.  People are pushed to seek recourse to extra-legal methods for relief.  Trial system both on the civil and criminal side has utterly broken down.'

Also, 'Thus we have arrived at a situation in the judicial administration where courts are deemed to exist for judges and lawyers and not for the public seeking justice'.

However, no recommendation has been made to effectively tackle this. The two suggestions that have been made are really disastrous. This is what Dr Subash Kashyap (one of the five non-judicial members of the Commission and a former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha) has recorded in his Notes (to the report of the Commission):

Attention is also invited to the decision taken by the Commission at its 14th Meeting held on 14-18 December, 2001.  Para 16 of the minutes records that "There shall be a National Judicial Commission for making recommendation as to the appointment of a Judge of the Supreme Court (other than the Chief Justice of India), a Chief Justice of a High Court and a Judge of any High Court."

"The composition of the National Judicial Commission would be as under:

a) The Vice-President of India
b) The Chief Justice of India
c) Two senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court, next to the Chief Justice
d) The Union Minister for Law & Justice."

However the composition of the NJC as recommended by the Commission in its Final Report is:

The National Judicial Commission for appointment of judges of the Supreme Court shall comprise of:

(1) The Chief Justice of India                                     : Chairman
(2) Two senior most judges of the Supreme Court     : Member
(3) The Union Minister for Law and Justice               : Member
(4) One eminent person nominated by the President
after consulting the Chief Justice of India     : Member

Further, this is what the Commission has recommended on dealing with guilty judges:

In appropriate cases the Chief Justice of the High Court or the Chief Justice of India, may withhold judicial work from the judge concerned after the inquiry committee records a finding against the judge.
In serious cases, ‘if the decision of the said committee of (seven) judges recommends the removal of the Judge, it shall be a convention that the judge promptly demits office himself.  If he fails to do so, the matter will be processed for being placed before Parliament in accordance with articles 124(4) and 217(1) Proviso (b).’

This is what Dr Subash Kashyap has finally recorded in his Notes to the Report:
‘The Chapter 7 of the Report is titled ‘The Judiciary’.  This chapter particularly is seriously flawed and distorted. The much needed Judicial Reform issues have not been even touched or these got deleted in the final draft.  In matters like appointment of judges, the approach in the final chapter is heavily and unconstitutionally weighed in favour of the judges themselves selecting their own colleagues thereby striking at the legitimate powers of the Executive and the Parliament and disturbing the delicate balance in the polity.’

Under the circumstances, I appeal to the Hon’ble President of India, the Prime Minister and distinguished Representatives of the People to kindly constitute a National Judicial Commission to try and punish guilty judges as under:

The Commission should have powers to receive complaints against judges from any citizen of this country.

The Commission should have judicial powers but should have only one member from the legal profession as in army court-martials.

The Commission should have total powers and resources to investigate the allegations independently.

The Judge against whom allegation have been made should be deemed suspended once investigations have been initiated.

The trial should be concluded within three months of initiating the investigations.

The punishment should be deterrent. It should have atleast twice the severity as would be applicable for a non-legal person convicted for the same offences.

The only appeal permitted should be to the President of India who will dispose it off on the advice of the Vice-President, PM, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

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