Not just the legal fraternity but every true Indian should stand by Senior Counsel Prashant Bhushan in his untiring crusade to clean the prevailing stinking rot in the Judiciary.
The loyalty of every Judge in our country has to be only to the very sacred Constitution of India. The not so long ago eulogizing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Supreme Court Judge Arun Mishra was totally uncalled for and in utter bad taste. Justice Mishra who is due to retire on 2nd September went well overboard. We all saw how then Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam who within weeks of his retirement was rewarded by Narendra Modi with an appointment on 31st August 2014 as the Governor of Kerala. On the retired Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the less said the better.
As a desperate BJP wants to overpower the Judiciary too, there is a very disturbing disquiet over the slippery slope,down which judicial values are slithering. With Narendra Modi all out to corrode and corrupt even the Independence of the Judiciary, to ensure the highest standards of judicial independence and to ward off even the faintest trace of governmental influence on the judiciary, there needs to be at least a two year "cooling off period" for retiring judges before they accept any posting after retirement.
Any award or posting must always be made on merit and not for special favours received. No Government must dangle a carrot or put a price on the heads of our Judiciary or senior civil servants to perform in a way that bends the rules rather than in the public interests or according to the letter and spirit of the law. The need for the rule of law and separation of powers between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary is paramount in any democracy with good governance. An independent judiciary can properly enforce the rule of law only if it is learned in the law and is characterized by impartiality and integrity.
As judicial independence of Judges rests entirely on maintaining an incorruptible detachment from the government of the day, it cannot be allowed to be morally compromised by lobbying for cushy post-retirement sinecure postings. We have witnessed instances where Judges have fixed their retirement nests much prior to even demitting office.
In times when the Indian Judiciary is passing through a very turbulent phase, this "jobs-for-the-judges" syndrome could place judges potentially open to governmental influence leaving scope for "pre-retirement judgments" being predisposed by the craving of a "post-retirement job".
A former Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha led by example that judges should not take any constitutional or other position for at least two years after demitting office. The Constitution of India is very clear on the distinct roles of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. It envisages a free, fair and independent Judiciary. The highest standards of judicial independence must be ensured by warding off even the faintest trace of governmental influence on the judiciary.
The demand to keep Supreme Court and High Court Judges away from immediately taking such post retirement benefits becomes the need of the hour and will thus ensure that those about to retire do not run behind those in the establishment thus giving a death knell to the independence of the judiciary. There is a need of concerted efforts towards propping up highest standards of judicial accountability.
The Judiciary should never be manned by persons who are tilted or aligned to any political party. Judges should have the spine to crack on illegalities done by all politicians, regardless of how high positions they hold. It has to be ensured that judicial accountability is maintained at all times with every Judge conforming to the highest standards of uprightness and integrity. If Judges cannot independently balance the scales of Justice, the Temples of Justice become pointless ending up as dens of chicanery and jugglery.
Andrew Jackson, the late American President believed that all the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous judiciary.
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