In the newly elected UPA Government, union Law Minister Veerappa Moily is planning large scale reforms in the country’s Judicial System during the first two hundred days of his ministry. In this, special attention is being given to the widespread corruption in the Judicial system and also the process involved in the appointment of the judges. He will also speak to the Chief Justice of India in this regard. He says that corruption within the Judicial system is a grave issue. He professes that a lot of complaints have come up against the system of the appointment of judges. There is a need to reconsider the plan which was made in 1993 for the appointment of the judges. The consensus is to change it. This is a common complaint that the responsible Judges’ committee for the appointment and promotion of judges, even overlook the senior judges for promotion till the Supreme Court. Regarding this 160 year old system, the Judiciary is in itself feeling perplexed. That is why the higher judiciary is being advised that only reconsidering will bring an improvement in the system. On the matter of increasing number of corruption charges against the High court and Supreme Court judges, the Law Minister feels it is a serious issue, it should not be regarded as a way of tarnishing the image of any organisation or defaming it.
The Law Minister further says that the Judges Enquiry Act which was set up in 1968, which laid out the plan for the action against the corrupt judges, is now four decades old and it should be revisited now. He says in order to make it more effective the Government can also make amendments in it. It is being told that the present system for the appointment of judges and action against the corrupt judges will be given a special place in the judicial reforms of the UPA Government. This will be carried in consultation with the higher judiciary. In order to speed up the process of reforming of the Judicial system these affairs will soon be put up in front of the Chief Justice of India. In order to check corruption within the Judiciary it is required to instil a sense of purpose in the process of the appointment of judges and it’s mechanism. Further he made it clear that in his vision for reforms there would be no conflict with the judiciary. He does not believe in the blame game. He told that the Judges Enquiry Act 1968 which shows a plan of action against corrupt judges is badly in need of reconsideration. He said that the UPA Government in it’s first term, in order to make this act transparent tried to make amendments in it. They( UPA government) might start working on the bill which was made in this regard. Nevertheless we express our firm belief that we will present this bill in the Parliament and get it passed.
The Law Minister says, unlike the other organisations Judiciary, media cannot defend themselves everyday. That is why he wants to be cautious in hurling accusations at them. He is in favour of providing security to the judiciary and together with that he also wants to follow the Right to Information Act. He says if we are able to convince the judiciary that no information will be used in a wrong way then it can be expected that there will be no hindrance. It should be recalled that in the present circumstances reports from various fractions say that the judiciary is in a state of turmoil in terms of trust and confidence. Contemporary News paper, Hindustan Times in the past days, have brought to light the mutual relationship between the judges and the agents in Haryana and Punjab and stressed the need of immediate reforms in the judicial system. The corruption present in the judges of Gujarat has also become a topic of debate whereas many survey reports have already been published regarding the widespread corruption in the judiciary at the lower levels. The lower court judges are condemned even by the judges of the High Court and Supreme Court. This lacerates the trust and confidence in the judiciary. It is undoubtedly necessary to maintain the dwindling image of the judiciary.
22/06/09 Editorial, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Asma Anjum Siddiqui