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Let The Dust Settle

Where Angels fear to tread let us not rush in. Let us not hurriedly make our value judgement on the Chief Justice or the companion judges in the collegium. That can wait. At the bar of history they and every one of us will be judged.

The need of the hour has to be ascertained. The controversy is around the absence of a code for the “master of the roster” The expression is itself an anachronism. Except law there is no master anywhere in this republic wedded to the rule of law.. Conventions and practices sanctified by usage and acceptance may occupy fields until the need otherwise is felt. There must now be rules to govern the domain.

May the full court meet. Choose a committee to draft the necessary rules. Future( probable) Chief justices can or may be included. May the full court consider and accept the same.

Experience is the greatest teacher. Normally the computer may choose in random. If and where the choice has to be otherwise, the same must be done by a committee of five judges. That can be the first five or the five probable future chiefs.

May be this can be the trigger for the pursuit of excellence by the system also. Roster can be on the basis of expertise also. Ascertain from all judges the areas of their expertise and preference. Instead of everyone dealing with every subject let us have specialist benches. As a humble counsel I would love to counsel Judges who have the domain expertise. We as an institution will thereby make a giant leap towards excellence.

Just a humble thought that I want to share at this unfortunate phase of existence of the institution to which I do even today would like to proudly belong.

R.Basant is a Senior Advocate and a Former Judge of Kerala HC

[Views are personal]

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  • Vijayashankar says:

    For the efficiency to improve, the possibility of predicting which case goes to which judge has to be reduced. If only top 5 get the important cases, it means that friends of top 5 will be the most sought after advocates. There will be growth of vested interests and also corruption. The allocation should be randomized with some weightage for the domain expertise. If judges are experts in the given domain, the possibility of them depending on the views of friendly advocates in grey areas would reduce. Where the case is considered critical to a domain expertise, it has to be a multiple member bench where one position could be based on expertise, another on seniority and the other random basis with due credit to conflicts if any. In case of single judge benches it should be randomly selected. In case of two member bench, expertise and randomness should be the criteria.