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Members from different fields of the legal fraternity today convened at the India Today Conclave 2017 to discuss the tussle between the Executive and the Judiciary.
Moderated by Rajdeep Sardesai, the panel comprised Senior Advocate Harish Salve, former Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, former Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna and founder of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy Arghya Sengupta.
The discussion began with the topic of judicial pendency and delay and the causes for the same. Harish Salve put it down to a combination of shortage of judges and the government’s tendency to pursue litigation.
However, Arghya Sengupta was of the opinion that judicial vacancies was just one part of the problem.
From the quantity of judges, the discussion moved on to the quality of members of the judiciary. Quoting from his vast experience, Justice Srikrishna said that judges today were under-prepared.
This, he put down to judges being over-burdened. This was a point Kapil Sibal agreed with. Taking note of the workload of current Supreme Court judges, the senior counsel said:
Next on the agenda was the method of appointing judges. There seemed to be a consensus on the panel that neither the collegium system nor the NJAC was the answer. Salve went on to state that both the Executive and the collegium have made both good and bad appointments.
The topic of judicial over-reach was also touched upon during the discussion, in light of recent court orders in the BCCI case, the infamous National Anthem order and the order banning liquor shops on highways.
On a related note, the issue of judges being offered post-retirement jobs by the Executive was also discussed. Justice Srikrishna revealed how he was pleaded with to head the Sixth Pay Commission, because the government felt that it would give them credibility.
The session ended with the moderator asking the panel members if they would consider being a judge. All but the retired judge would even consider it.