- EX-Cji as Kerala governor
- Doctrine of Postponement
- Lawyer databank to select judges
- SC 2013 rules on Death convicts
- Urdu as 2nd official language
Why controversy? Ex-CJI Sathasivam was made Governor of Kerala, after Sheila’s resignation.
|Fali Nariman:This is most improper and unfortunate. I do not appreciate or approve of the idea of a former SC judge accepting a sinecure appointment, like that of a Governor. [Sinecure= An office that involves minimal duties].||Other CJIs do arbitration or consultation work for corporates after retirement. (and mint crores of rupees.) However, I was planning to do farming at village. But since President has offered this position, I’ve accepted. I never lobbied to get this job.|
|Sathasivam had given relief to Amit Shah in fake encounter case, so Modi offered him gift of Governoship.|
Ex-CJI should not be made Governor because:
- Independent judiciary is the basic feature of Constitution. But when Judges seek jobs or a seat in Parliament from the Executive, this basic feature is not fullfilled.
- Promise of such post-retirement “job” can jeopardise the autonomy and accountability of the judiciary.
- This can create breach in balance of separation of powers.
- After retirement judges get appointed to Lokpal, NHRC etc. but those positions are eligibility requirements and autonomy in functioning.
- Governor’s post is seen as an ‘executive patronage’- typical reserved for ‘retiring’ politicians.
- Earlier retired judges of HC became governors. But this is the first time a retired CJI, got this job!
- Sathasivam was also a candidate for Lokpal job. So by giving him Governorship, Modi took him out of the race.
- Breach of protocol: In the order of precedence, 1st Prez, 2nd VP, 6th CJI, 8th: Governor outside their state. So, CJI should not accept such ‘lower’ job. It is beneath his ‘dignity’.
Note: as per India Yearbook Ch.32: order of precedence is following:
- Governor in their respective states
- Former presidents
6. CJI and Speaker of Loksabha
7. Leader of Opposition in LS and RS, and ~half dozen others (list not important for the present topic)
7A: Holder of Bharat Ratna
8: Governors outside their state.
There is nothing wrong in CJI becoming governor because:
- Post of governor is a constitutional post. SC is a constitional body.
- Punchhi commission: Governorship should not be given to person active in politics.
- A Former CJI will be an expert in constitutional matters- provides him to utilise his expertise in public service. This can be a healthy trend.
- There is no breach of protocol if retired CJI accept a lesser post, because he has retired.
- President chose to accept the Modi’s proposal as there is no constitutional bar in such appointment.
- Tribunals and commissions should be manned by a separate cadre of judges. (Instead of dolling out these jobs to retired judges- and opening floodgates for such criticism.) Govt should amend constitution for this.
- There should be ‘cooling-off’ period of atleast two years before retired judges takeup any sarkaari position.
- Union government should stop treating Governor job as a sinecure for party members, sympathisers and loyalists.
- Use of natural resources through Public Sector Undertakings.
- Commuted the death sentence of Sikh terrorist Bhullar- on the ground that there was inordinate delay in disposal of their mercy petitions by the President.
- Upheld Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s conviction in ’93 Mumbai blasts.
- Included NOTA in EVM
- Made it mandatory for candidates to fill ALL columns in nomination papers. (=> Modi had to admit he is married.)
- 2010: Home ministry made advisory on media reporting by police. But still no proper regulation.
- 2012: SC said, Judiciary can impose a temporary freeze on media report- of a particular case. IF such media-reporting is hurting the rights of the “accused”. This is called “Doctrine of Postponement”
- (at that time, it was silent on “victim”)
- But, Excessive media coverage of crime and court proceeding =Victim’s rights are jeopardized.
- 2014: some NGO files PIL.
- SC says- Yes, Media has right to freedom of speech (#19) but Victim also has right to live with dignity.(#21)
- Therefore, SC appointed Gopal Sankarnarayan as amicus curiae, and has sought responses from the Union, states and UTs about this issue.
Union law minister listed following judicial reforms during some ceremony:
- Case pendency increased due to lack of manpower and infrastructure. ~4400 posts lying vacant.
- We’ve increased no. of high court judges by 25%
- We should maintain a databank on the performance of young lawyers. So later we can select the best among them- for judges post.
- We need to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanism-so cases can be settled outside courts.
- Digitisation- computerization of courts.
- 2013 SC rule, for hearing death convict’s petition- Three judges bench will decide. But such petitions are heard secretly in judges chamber.
- 2014: the Bombay blast mastermind Yakub Memon doesn’t like this. NOT ONE BIT. So, he files writ petition in SC, demanded a death convict should be given every chance to be heard in an open court, instead of deciding secretly in judge’s chamber.
- SC verdict: we will hear all the cases of review petition of death convicts in an open court with a bench of 3 judges.
- If prior petitions were heard by less than 3 judges bench, such death convicts can request CJI to setup new 3 judges bench.
- Hindi is the official state language of Uttar Pradesh (1951’s act).
- 1989: UP legislature amended that act to make Urdu, the second official language of the State.
- this time, UP Hindi Sahitya Sammelan did not like it. Not one bit. So they went to SC. Their argument- once a state adopts Hindi as official language, it cannot adopt any other language.
- 2014, SC ruled following:
- As per Article 345, state legislature may adopt
- one or more languages
- OR Hindi
- As official language of the state.
- Constitution makers mentioned Hindi separately, only to promote its use.
- Otherwise, article 345 doesn’t impose any restriction on the states to use Hindi only.
- Article 347 prescribes that a language can be made official upon the satisfaction of the President. But that is an independent process.
- Delhi’s official language is Hindi, yet, even they adopted Punjabi and Urdu as officially recognized languages. Similar scenario in Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- In short, there was no constitutional bar against a state government. If they already have Hindi as official language, Constitution doesn’t stop them from declaring other language as second official language.
- Therefore, please stop wasting courts time and UPSC aspirants’ time with all such petitions.