ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Two Small Steps towards Transparency

Two recent decisions, one administrative and one judicial, have given hope that the judiciary has finally accepted how non-transparent and unaccountable its functioning has become. The decision to make collegium resolutions public and the judgment to streamline designations of “senior advocates” are necessary first steps towards the larger goal of transparency in the judiciary. Both instances highlight the need for the bar and advocates to speak up for the institution and on behalf of the larger public interest.

For all the adherence to the principles and practices of open courts and open justice in hearing cases, India’s judiciary performs many vital functions entirely behind closed doors and without accountability. Transparency is its own form of accountability and the Indian judiciary, led by the Supreme Court, has resisted consistent demands to open up. Whether it was in the context of recommending names for appointments to the higher judiciary or designating advocates as senior advocates, or deciding when to list matters, or just making more information available through the Right to Information Act, 2005, the higher judiciary has been less than forthcoming.

It is in this context that the decision of the Supreme Court to upload the resolutions of the collegium on its website and the judgment in Indira Jaising v Supreme Court of India (2017) should be welcomed. Together, these two decisions, one administrative and one judicial, have opened a few cracks through which the light can enter. It is worth examining the context and the way these two decisions came about, why they matter so much, and how they may point to the future of ensuring greater transparency in the judiciary.

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Updated On : 3rd Nov, 2017

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