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

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Hollowing Out of Judiciary

The judiciary is unable to overcome its problems of arbitrariness and unaccountability.


Another year, another tumultuous January for the Supreme Court. If 2018 saw a near mutiny by four senior judges of the Court against the then Chief Justice of ­India (CJI), 2019 has found one of those four judges, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in the eye of many a storm as the current CJI. Three recent controversies have not only damaged his credibility and reputation, but have also reflected very poorly on the institution of the judiciary.

First, was the controversy over the involvement of Justice A K Sikri in the high powered committee (HSC) which suspended Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma by a majority of 2–1, with Sikri agreeing with the government represented by the Prime Minister. Even assuming that Sikri’s ­decision was entirely uninfluenced by the government’s proposal to nominate him to the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal, it still goes against the principle that the judiciary is fond of repeating: Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done. The purpose of involving the CJI (or his nominee) in the HPC was to inject a level of neutrality and impartiality in the process. It may sound unreasonable, but, by leaving open even a small window for questioning the neutrality and impartiality of the judge in question, Gogoi’s decision has seriously damaged the credibility of the judiciary.

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Updated On : 29th Jan, 2019
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