Sunday, July, 21,2024

Latest News

SC Bar Association President writes to PM Modi; requests appointment of sitting judges to tribunals and commissions

New Delhi: Adish C. Aggarwala, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday, requesting to introduce suitable amendments in statutes to provide the appointment of sitting judges instead of retired judges to tribunals and commissions.
In his letter, Adish said, "I wish to highlight the impact of the appointment of retired judges of the Supreme Court and high courts as chairpersons and members of commissions and tribunals and other such positions by the government on the perception of people about the neutrality of these judges and of the decisions that had been rendered by these judges while they were in service. The government is, as is well known, the biggest litigant in the courts. Apart from cases by or against the government, there are cases involving ministers and other politically active persons. The judge who is deciding a case is looked on as an impartial umpire who is not approachable by either party."
"When this judge is, immediately upon retirement, handpicked by the government to hold a certain position, people cannot help but speculate if the judge was appeasing the government when occupying the chair to be favourably considered by the government on his retirement, in return for the favour," he added.
The President of the Supreme Court Bar Association also mentioned that this trend had started in 1988, during the regime of the Congress Party at the Centre.
"The Consumer Protection Act and later the Protection of Human Rights Act set up consumer courts and human rights commissions, which were headed by retired judges. There is now a large number of retired Supreme Court judges, chief Justices and judges of different high courts who are presiding over commissions and tribunals in different parts of India, having been appointed by the central and state governments," he pointed out.
He also mentioned that there is a crying need to amend the statutes to change the eligibility requirement from a retired judge to sitting judges or practicing lawyers, as of the 21 judges who retired from the Supreme Court from January 2008 to 2011, 18 got assignments in different commissions and tribunals.
Adish Aggarwala further added that the Constitution itself provides for the direct appointment of advocates as judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. If advocates can be considered for being appointed as judges of important constitutional courts, there is no reason why they should not be in the zone of consideration for heading tribunals and commissions.
He also said that the services of judges should be profitably used in courts for longer tenures by raising the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 65 years to 68 years and that of High Court judges from 62 years to 65 years.
Further, pointing out the phenomenon that when a judge resigns or retires from the post, they join active politics.
"There is another phenomenon that is bringing disrepute to the legal profession and particularly the judiciary. This happens when a judge resigns or retires and immediately joins active politics. I wish to refer to the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, adopted by the United Nations Congress on September 6, 1985. and endorsed by its General Assembly, which recognise that judges may enjoy the freedoms afforded to other citizens but must "conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of their office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary," the letter said.

  Share on

Related News