Now our justice delivery system (in India) is occasionally brilliant, inspiring public trust, but are infamous for its fabled corruption and endless delays. But this takes the cake : the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court — the constitutional head, I may add, of one of the three verticals envisaged in our Republican bible to keep each other in check — has refused to participate in the newly formed National Judicial Appointment Commission, at least untill its constitutional validity was upheld by the Supreme Court. The other two members of the Commission are the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. The Govt has argued before a 5-judge bench of the same Supreme Court that the CJI is mandated ex-officio by the recently passed constitutional amendment to participate in the meeting to select other eminent members of the Commission. It has sought a direction from the Court to the CJI … so that he does his job and duly participate in the Commission’s deliberations.
The CJI’s intransigence is more than understandable : the amended provision in law has democratised the process of appointing judges to most exalted positions in superior courts. It is no longer the preserve of an in-house “collegium” that was elitist, Platonic may I say, at best. At worst, it was a den of the corrupt that allowed a former CJI to avail of sponsored jaunts abroad, another to pass patently motivated judgements that were rescinded/ modified soon enough, and even encouraged a prominent lawyer to assure a lady colleague of lucrative judicial appointment in lieu of steamy sexual favours right in the exclusive “Lawyer Chambers” in the Court premises !
The rot is deep and widespread, and it shows in the fabled inefficiency and partisan quality of judgements the system delivers to its citizens. It delays, and delays, when the rich or the famous are respondents to common plaintiffs. And it massively overlooks procured investigative lapses, even misjudging matters if nothing avails to satisfy paying litigants in the fray. It is occasionally brilliant, as pointed out, but that only serves to perpetually postpone much-needed administrative changes under the projected garb of “all’s well.” When it is hugely not.
That was why the National Judicial Standards And Accountability Bill was mooted almost a decade ago, to stem the capacity of our judicial system to deliver raw deals at will. Judicial appointments are a big part of the problem, to address which the Appointment Commision has been set up. An upright CJI would be expected to further the aims of the proposed Judicial Standards and the anti-corruption cause against a riven system.
So, why should the current CJI be working against the lofty aims and goals ?
Is it a refusal to admit flaws and a collective guilt ?
Or, is it a more concerted effort to perpetuate the lucrative system of built-in inefficiencies and multiple wheeling-dealing avenues the lordships practice with supreme hypocrisy ?
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I’ve known of (Dr) Rahul Khullar even before his 3-year appointment in 2013 as TRAI chief. He was a former Commerce Dept secretary and Income Tax Commissioner, and especially favoured by the UPA regime through its decade long federal administration that humiliatingly ended in May ’14. Among others matters of bureaucratic dishonour and governance disrepute he contributed to, Dr Khullar is associated with the recent 2G – spectrum scam, which was an alround conspiracy of politician-bizmen-bureaucrat clique to deprive the national treasury of over Rs 10,000 billion ! We all remember the Kapil-Zero-Sibal statement, the Raja-Maran-Kanunidhi involvement, the summoning of that dumb turbaned former Prime Minister to testify before a court of law investigating the matter, and the motivated targeting of the former CAG — who stood up and firm by his scathing criticism of the spectrum allocation process then followed.
Dr Rahul Khullar came to be a part of that sleazy environment, more on account of his seeming omissions to be true. But that wasn’t all. He very recently had gone along pretty well with statements sympathetic of telecom behemoths ( didn’t Sunil Mittal of Airtel move a 75 crore per month remuneration proposal for himself in company Board meeting ? ), while doing nothing to improve delivered services and assure the public. How many complaints to TRAI has he answered and acted upon ?
I continue to read the plight of subscribers on social media. Nothing good is expected through his term, a year of which remains. The current NDA govt has very ambitious plans for countrymen. The biz-babu-neta nexus is subdued but lurk in the shadows. Telecom is expected to change rapidly along people-centric lines from May 2016.
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I have nothing to add to what you already know of the earthquake disaster in Nepal and, to lesser extent, in India and Tibet. Oh, yes, it isn’t China to me and will never be.
The only thing I do wish to mention is donations for relief : contribute to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund that is seized with delivering relief to the affected people. Shun the others, especially the ones set up by media houses in India and sundry NGOs. The Govt of India and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and its associated organisations are at the forefront and deeply involved, without any quid pro quo motives whatsoever.
There is this mini series “Against The Wind” … a fictionalised documentary I see as important to popular history of British occupation of Ireland, declared a ‘disturbed county’ and ruthlessly taken over in 1890s, and development of New South Wales through its years as a penal settlement colony. I’ve been gripped… You may check out for yourself.