While speaking on the subject of the independence of the judiciary on Constitution Day, former Supreme Court Justice MB Lokur questioned why so many judges and Chief Justices were being transferred from High Courts.
The former judge was speaking at The Leaflet's Constitution Day talk titled Undermining the idea of India: Which way forward?
Justice Lokur opined that it was time for the judiciary to do away with the notion that a High Court’s Chief Justice should be from another Court. He explained that this system had come into existence 20 years before the Collegium and now, enough checks and balances had been put in place over the period of time.
“Why have so many judges been transferred? Do we have judges at the High Court level who are not good enough and therefore need to be transferred Chief Justices are being transferred, they’re being denied appointment in some High Courts. It has happened to one very senior judge.”
The retired judge pondered why the judiciary was not reacting to some human rights violations in the country. He remarked that people stay in jail for years together, sometimes decades.
“Are they are not entitled to bail? They've been put in for something which they have done innocently but is interpreted wrongly,” he asked.
Justice Lokur strongly recommended that every two years, there should be a conference of Chief Justices to thrash out problems like pendency and vacancies.
He ended his address by speaking about his idea of India, saying that an independent judiciary was a must without which the Constitution would just become another written document.
“Unless we have a judiciary that stands up, that speaks out, that introspects, plans, our Constitution will just become another written document which we will keep on discussing on 26th of November and perhaps on the 26th of January.”