Needs Good-Bye to Ethics When Democracy at Stake-Risk in India - Observed By: Balbir Singh Sooch

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(Left to right) Justice Kurien Joseph, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur, all Supreme Court Judges, addressing the media in New Delhi on Friday. -- R.V Moorthy



1. Supreme Court Crisis: Four Retired Justices Write an Open Letter to CJI Dipak Misra, Back Rebel Judges:



2. ‘Chief Justice First Among Equals’: Top Quotes From Supreme Court Judges’ Letter to CJI



3. Supreme Court Crisis: Four Retired Justices Write an Open Letter to CJI Dipak Misra, Back Rebel Judges: By India.com News Desk Email: Updated: January 14, 2018 7:44 PM IST



4. Supreme Court Crisis: Four Retired Judges Write an Open Letter to CJI Dipak Misra, Say Arbitrarily Assigning Cases to Junior Judges Will Harm Rule of Law.



5. New Delhi, Jan 14, 2018: Four retired judges on Sunday wrote an open letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and asserted that they agree with the issues raised by the four rebel judges of apex court couple of days ago. The letter has been written by Justice P.B. Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge, Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice K. Chandru, a former judge of the Madras High Court, and Justice H. Suresh, a former judge of the Bombay High Court.

HIGHLIGHTS:

(i) Four retired judges on Sunday wrote an open letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.



(ii) The letter has been written by Justice PB Sawant, Justice AP Shah, Justice K Chandru and Justice H Suresh.



(iii) The retired judges said that they agree with the four judges of top court.



6. “The four senior puisne Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court. They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law,” the letter by the four former judges read. (Also Read: ‘Chief Justice First Among Equals’: Top Quotes From Supreme Court Judges’ Letter to CJI)



7. The retired judges also said that they agree with the four judges of top court that though the CJI is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work but this does not mean that it can be done in an “arbitrary manner” such that, “sensitive and important cases” are sent to “hand-picked benches” of junior judges by the chief justice.



8. “This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent,” they said in the letter, adding that this must be done “immediately to restore public confidence” in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court.



9. The former justices also advised that till “clear rules and norms” were laid down for the allocation of cases, “all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution Bench of the 5 senior most Judges of this Court”.



10. “Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard,” the judges further said.



11. Earlier on Friday, the four judges Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph rebelled against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra over allocation of cases, saying the administration of the top court was “not in order”. Published Date: January 14, 2018 7:24 PM IST.



12. “SC crisis: 4 retired judges write open letter to CJI: New Delhi, January 14, 2018: last updated: Jan 14, 2018, 5:17 PM (IST): Four retired judges, including an ex-Supreme Court judge, on Sunday wrote an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, saying they agree with the issues raised by the four apex court judges over allocation of cases and the crisis needs to be resolved “within the judiciary”.



13. The letter by former apex court judge P B Sawant, ex-chief justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, former Madras High Court judge K Chandru and ex-Bombay High Court judge H Suresh was given to the media. It also went viral on social media.



14. Justice Shah confirmed having written an open letter along with the other retired judges and told PTI, "We have written the open letter which the other judges named in the letter have also consented to."



15. He said the view expressed by the retired judges is "quite similar to the views of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that till this crisis is resolved, the important matters should be listed before a five-judge Constitution bench of senior judges".

15.

16. Justice Shah said earlier he was not sure about the consent given by the other three judges and, therefore, he initially denied having written any letter but now all of them have given consent to it.

The letter quoted the judges as having said:

17. "The four senior puisne Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court.



18. "They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law."



19. The four retired judges said they agree with the four judges of top court that though the CJI is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work but this does not mean that it can be done in an "arbitrary manner" such that, "sensitive and important cases" are sent to "hand-picked benches" of junior judges by the chief justice.



20. “This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent," they said, adding that this must be done "immediately to restore public confidence" in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court.



21. The letter further said that "however till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution bench of the five seniormost judges of this Court".



22. It added, "Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard." — PTI : Courtesy: The Tribune, Chandigarh



23. “Saba Naqvi: Democracy, they (the protesting judges) said, was under threat. That scared me and I tried to understand what they could have meant: last updated: Jan 14, 2018, 12:01 AM (IST)



24. Saba Naqvi Wrote: THERE are moments in the life of the Republic when we pause in shock and a measure of awe. The four justices of the Supreme Court who held that jaw-dropping press conference against the Chief Justice of India are men who have several years ago been vetted, faced intelligence inquiries, and then been sent to serve in the courts eventually landing in the highest court of our land. The court tasked with the noblest job of preserving the Indian Constitution. These four men cannot be lightly dismissed as “anti-national” the phrase now bandied about to tar anyone who opposes the agendas of those in power at the Centre.



25. We now have it from the horses’ mouth that there is something rotten in the institution meant to safeguard our Republic. As a lay person who does not understand legal procedure, I read their letter four times to make sense of it. But I understood their words quite simply. Democracy, they said, was under threat. That scared me and I tried to understand what they could possibly have meant.



26. Clearly our elections will go on so electoral democracy is not about to be concluded. What the judges were saying in essence is that our democracy survives because of independence of the judiciary, which is now being compromised. The administrative decisions of the Chief Justice of India that they have critiqued in careful words suggest that sensitive cases, in which the government has stakes, are being sent to carefully hand-picked judges.



27. This is deadly serious stuff and suggests that the higher judiciary could become a puppet of the political masters, if sections of it have not become so already. Which is why the counter-attack on the judges who spoke out is being organised in the political arena. It has been suggested by sections of the media that the judges broke with tradition because of “a certain political agenda”. The untimely and inappropriate visit of a senior CPI leader to one of the four judges has been highlighted on camera as if to suggest it’s a communist conspiracy after all. That is if it’s not a Congress conspiracy since the party has issued a statement and President Rahul Gandhi uttered a few words on the matter!



28. Had such an event taken place when the Congress was in power and did indeed try to subvert the judiciary, most notably during the Emergency, would the principal opposition forces, been able to resist making statements? Let’s recall too that the current finance minister Arun Jaitley, spent time in jail during the Emergency and fine lawyer that he is, would have a profound understanding of the importance of an independent judiciary. I am sure he comprehends what is going on at various levels in ways that cannot be shared with the public and perhaps even the two most powerful individuals in his party, one of whom has direct stakes in the constitution of a bench that would look into the sudden death of a judge who was presiding over the Sohrabbudin fake encounter case.



29. That said, it’s important to move beyond the immediate political slug-fest. Let’s examine what could happen if all sections of the higher judiciary were in debt to those in power, either due to direct political patronage or due to the suppression of corruption charges held as leverage over senior judges. A columnist is allowed to have a flight of fancy and let me state it here bluntly; we could for starters end up as a surveillance state and that too a rather inefficient one, as this paper’s fine reporting on the Adhaar matter recently suggested. Not only would the government, bank and essential services we subscribe to have our details, others could also buy it for a price. As an individual who faces some nasty social media threats, I take the breach of my security and that of my family very seriously.



30. There are even greater concerns. I had once commissioned senior Supreme Court advocate Raju Ramachandran to write a piece on whether we could constitutionally become a Hindu Rashtra. I was given a brilliant treatise on why it could not happen but the central point he made is that it all rests on Supreme Court judgements that hold that the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution do not extend to altering its basic structure or framework. At this point in our history, any attempt to review our Constitution would be halted by what is now called the “basic structure doctrine”. But imagine if all the judges in the Courts danced to the tune of the political masters. Any judgement can be reviewed and things that appeared impossible in the past, could indeed happen in the future.



31. That is why I doff-take off or lift my hat to the four fine men who may have ruffled feathers by breaking convention and tradition but that’s a small matter when we understand what is at stake here (Democracy at Stake-Risk in India).. They have done something unusual these days: for love of the country they have put their own reputations and futures at stake to speak from a place called conscience”. The Tribune, Chandigarh

http://sikhvicharmanch.com/B1.htm

32. WHY INDIA IS DEVOID OF RULE OF LAW?

http://sikhvicharmanch.com/B1.htm

33. Corruption, Inc.: The spate of scandals in recent times is a symptom of the growing politics-business nexus aided by a system that felicitates and celebrates accumulations of wealth.

34. POVERTY IN INDIA

https://www.google.co.in/search?q=poverty+in+india&dcr=0&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjKh8__6tbYAhUCu7wKHQgVBpsQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=613

A Conclusion As Observed By: Balbir Singh Sooch-Sikh Vichar Manch

Posted on Jan 15, 18 | 3:20 am