Alive - - Ed­i­to­rial -

The mod­ern demo­cratic state stands on four pil­lars: the leg­is­la­ture that makes laws and up­dates them with amend­ments; the ex­ec­u­tive elected that gov­erns ac­cord­ing to the laws; the ju­di­ciary that over­sees laws are ob­served by the gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple and the fourth es­tate that is the me­dia dis­sem­i­nat­ing news and pre­sent­ing views to en­hance the aware­ness of the peo­ple so that all other pil­lars fairly and righ­teously share the bur­den of their du­ties to sup­port the state.

Of all th­ese pil­lars of the state, peo­ple have more faith in the ju­di­ciary be­cause that is where they can go to get jus­tice when they are wronged by the state or by their com­pa­tri­ots.

How­ever, the judges are hu­man and li­able to hu­man frail­ties. There could be er­rors of judg­ment and also in­ci­dents of cor­rup­tion, nepo­tism and favouritism do creep into judg­ments oc­ca­sion­ally. To rem­edy this men­ace, the cit­i­zen is pro­vided with the right to ap­peal from low courts to high courts and ul­ti­mately to the Supreme Court.

What hap­pens when the Supreme Court it­self shows the weak­nesses of the lower courts, and be­comes sus­pect and loses the po­si­tion of im­par­tial dis­penser of jus­tice? The se­nior­most judges, ju­nior only to the Chief Jus­tice of India , re­cently held a press con­fer­ence and pre­sented their po­si­tion be­fore the pub­lic. Jus­tice Che­lameswar, rep­re­sent­ing Jus­tices Ran­jan Go­goi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur, said: “We tried to col­lec­tively per­suade the Chief Jus­tice that cer­tain things are not in or­der and there­fore you should take re­me­dial mea­sures. Un­for­tu­nately our ef­forts failed. Un­less the in­sti­tu­tion is pre­served and it main­tains its equa­nim­ity, democ­racy will not sur­vive in this coun­try.”

Chief Jus­tice KM Joseph who was rec­om­mended by the col­legium of the Supreme Court, but his name was with held by the gov­ern­ment on flimsy grounds. The real rea­son was he was be­ing pun­ished for his rul­ing in 2016 to quash the im­po­si­tion of Pres­i­dent’s rule in the state and re­store the Congress rule. Of course the gov­ern­ment had to ac­cept his el­e­va­tion when the col­legium rec­om­mended his case a sec­ond time. Still the gov­ern­ment placed his name last in se­nior­ity de­spite his name was rec­om­mended ear­lier and some brother judges ex­pressed their an­guish and shock at the in­jus­tice done to Jus­tice Joseph.

If the sit­u­a­tion in the apex court of the coun­try is such, the lower courts func­tion un­der the weight of lakhs of cases and where ad­journ­ment rather than set­tle­ment, is the or­der of the day, could be imag­ined. It is high time the Aegean sta­bles of ju­di­ciary are cleaned and the trust of the peo­ple could be re­stored.

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