The Other word for “crisis” in Chinese is “opportunity” and that is How we shall see the recent developments in Judicial arena.The recent war of words through media in b/w two chief justices of India shows the failure of “collegium” system in India.Disputed verdicts given by Former chief Justice of India J Altamas Kabeer’s in favor of Sahara ,Mittals and J P Associates Shows lack of transparency and accountability in Indian Judicial system.This war of words between two chief Justices is a symptom of deeper malaise which still wishes to get unfold.
The evolution of Collegium system was an innovative step towards curtailing powers or discretion of Executive in the appointments of judges.After the 9 bench judgement in the Supreme court advocates vs union of India it was established that Senior most Judge of the Supreme court considered fit to hold office should be appointed as the Chief justice of India.
The collegium of judges consists of Chief Justice of India and His four senior most Brother judges of the Supreme court.The judge who is going to succeed should be included in the collegium. Evolution of the system helped to sustain independence of judiciary from any external intrusion and hence provided a better and healthy atmosphere for there dissent and disagreement with Executive and legislative.
Deeper Malaise and Opportunity to cure
The recent developments when putted in to the context and the rising corruption levels in Judiciary raise questions on the accountability, transparency and authority of Collegium system which I believe has failed to serve its purpose as too many a power leads to corruption.Failed attempt to impeach J Saumitra Sen Where he resigned before his final impeachment and also various other cases including J Dinakarans clearly shows lack of accountability in Indian Judicial System.
J K G Balakrisnan proved a mile stone and his path breaking work established that Judiciary is as corrupt as any other part of the democratic system.
J Ganguly decision was a path breaking work and established the fact that Judiciary if wishes can remove corruption in seconds.Last decision By J Kapadia secured him a post retirement job.The malaise is deeper than we have expected and judiciary has become an instrument in the hands of sometimes state and sometimes in the hands of Capitalist which i believing is ruining judiciary of the faith that the masses hold in it.This I believe is the right time to reform whole judicial system including appointments and proceedings keeping in mind that there independence should be enhanced rather than curtailed.
Judicial accountability Bill
Judicial accountability bill is a much needed step towards reforming Judicial system.Although bill holds certain good measures to enhance accountability but it fails to involve masses and civil society in to procedure.Do Indian leaders fear something?? Executive participation as enunciated in the bill will be a blow to the doctrine of separation of powers.We even can go with collegium including civil society and representatives of masses plus constitutional experts and other intelligentia belonging or working in the field if Judicial activism.
This recent crisis can be utilized to reform Indian Judicial system which from decades has been the torch bearer of Rule of law and which has helped the Indian Democratic system to work in favor of masses and also to establish a social just system.