24 Sep 2019 9:39 AM GMT
The Advocates' Association of Bengaluru has urged the CJI Ranjan Gogoi to ensure transparency in the appointment of Judges, Chief Justices of high courts, Judges of Supreme Court and their transfers and has asked him to disclose the reasons behind some of the most "mysterious" transfers of judges. In a letter addressed to the CJI, the Association expressed its concern over the...
The Advocates' Association of Bengaluru has urged the CJI Ranjan Gogoi to ensure transparency in the appointment of Judges, Chief Justices of high courts, Judges of Supreme Court and their transfers and has asked him to disclose the reasons behind some of the most "mysterious" transfers of judges.
In a letter addressed to the CJI, the Association expressed its concern over the opaqueness of Collegium's decision-making process. It questioned the sudden change of mind to appoint Justice Qureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, modifying the earlier decision of the Collegium to elevate him as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The Association said that in the absence of a reasonable explanation behind this haste decision, the transfer appeared to be at the 'dictate' of the Central govt., which was indisposed to Justice Qureshi's appointment at Madhya Pradesh.
The Association also said that the decision to transfer Justice Tahilramani to the Meghalaya High Court, which led to her resignation, also stank of political interference. It also questioned the transfer of Justice Jayanth Patel of Karnataka High Court, which was akin to Justice Tahilramani's case and said,
"When judges of constitutional courts resign under mysterious circumstances, or their transfer or elevation as chief justice are altered in circumstances that are apparently not routine, it shakes the confidence of the public in the judicial system and throws up several uncomfortable questions to those in the decision making body of the Higher Judiciary".
Justice Jayanth Patel had resigned as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in 2017, protesting his non-elevation as the Chief Justice of any High Court, despite his seniority.
The Association went on to recall the delay in elevation of Justice K. M. Joseph and Justice S. Bopanna to the Supreme Court, mysterious transfer of Justice D. H. Waghela and said,
"In order to strengthen the judiciary and ensure its continued independence, reasons for the transfer of judges such as Justice Tahilramani, Justice Jayanth Patel, Justice D. H. Waghela, Justice Qureshi and denial of timely elevation to the Supreme Court of Justice K. M. Joseph, Justice S. Bopanna as well as why seniority is ignored in respect of some of the most mysterious judges need to be answered".
The Association said that the higher judiciary was the "only flicker of hope" to the people and in the absence of an appropriate explanation to the aforesaid uneasy developments, the integrity of the Collegium system appeared to be under challenge.
"Assumptions to the interference of the political executive in its functioning and threat to the freedom of the Indian judiciary do appear to be a reality," it said.
"The truth or the perception of the truth amongst the intelligentsia of the legal fraternity and citizenry of this nation remains that the entire legal system, including the mighty Collegium is failing to act independently without FEAR or favour", it added.
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