Calling it a “widely propagated myth”, Chief Justice NV Ramana on Sunday defended the judiciary against accusations that judges appointed judges through the Collegium system.
At the 5th Shri Lavu Venkateswarlu Endowment Conference at Siddhartha Law College, Vijayawada, Ramana said: “It is fashionable these days to repeat phrases like ‘judges themselves appoint judges’. I consider this to be one of the most common myths. The point is that the judiciary is only one of the many actors involved in the process. Numerous authorities are involved, including the Union Law Department, state governments, governors, High Court Collegia, the intelligence office and, lastly, the most senior officer, all of whom are appointed to review the suitability of a candidate. I am sad to see that knowledgeable people also propagate the aforementioned notion as these narratives fit certain sections. “
Stating that filling vacancies is one of the persistent challenges facing the judiciary, CJI appreciated the government’s efforts to appoint more judges in recent times. However, urging the Center to strictly adhere to the deadlines set in the Malik Mazhar case, Ramana said: “Some recommendations made by the high courts have not yet been sent to the Supreme Court by the Justice Ministry. Union.
The CJI also defended the judiciary against criticism of judicial excess through the power of review. He said that “such generalizations are wrong” and that “if the judiciary does not have the power of judicial control, the functioning of democracy in this country would be unthinkable”.
Stating that “a popular majority is not a defense against arbitrary actions taken by a government”, CJI said that “the concept of separation of powers cannot be used to limit the scope of judicial review”.
Ramana, who criticized the lack of impact assessment or basic constitutional review before the laws were passed, said: “The least that is expected of the legislature when drafting laws is that it respects established constitutional principles. When drafting laws, they should also think about providing effective remedies for problems that may arise from the law. But these principles are apparently ignored.
Emphasizing the importance of debate in the making of laws, he said that it seems that Parliament has not been able to make optimal use of the system of standing committees.
“A bill can only be refined through the participation of all stakeholders and through constructive debate. Parliament introduced a remarkable mechanism in the 1990s to improve the scrutiny of bills – that of standing committees. However, it seems that the legislator has not been able to make optimal use of it, ”said the CJI.
The CJI also recalled the executive, affirming that “there seems to be a growing tendency to disregard or even not respect court orders”. He added that “ensuring justice is not the responsibility of the judiciary alone” and that “unless the other two coordinating bodies make sincere efforts to fill vacancies, appoint prosecutors, strengthen infrastructure and making laws with foresight and stakeholder analysis, the judiciary cannot be held solely responsible ”.
Speaking on the lack of independence of prosecutors, the CJI stressed that there is “a need to liberate the institution of prosecutors” and “full independence must be granted to them by making them accountable only to the courts” .
“Historically, prosecutors in India have been under government control. They do nothing to prevent frivolous and undeserving cases from reaching the courts. Public prosecutors automatically oppose bail requests, without submitting to them independently. They are trying to suppress evidence during the trial, which could benefit the accused, ”he added.
Suggesting corrective measures, Ramana said: “An independent selection committee could be formed for their appointment. Best practices should be adopted after benchmarking other jurisdictions.
The CJI also spoke of establishing liability for “flawed and excessively delayed investigations”.
“Another facet of the criminal justice system that needs to be changed concerns investigators. There is absolutely no accountability system in place for faulty and excessively delayed investigations. A person wrongly imprisoned because of a false implication loses his right to liberty, property, etc. She is in great pain. He has no real recourse and no compensation left, even after an acquittal, ”he added.