New Delhi: As
eminent jurists here recommended more accountability for the
judiciary, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday said a clean
judiciary was the right of every Indian, adding that judicial
activism was right so long it concerned human rights and was not
on the wrong side of the constitution.
Speaking on "What Ails the
Indian Judiciary" at the Dr. K.N.Katju Memorial Lecture here,
jurists also suggested setting up of independent commission to
appoint judges to high courts and the Supreme Court.
"It is the right of every citizen in this country to have a clean
judiciary. Litigation in this country is no longer a rare
occurrence. Judges have the power of life and death over citizens
of this country," Chidambaram, himself an lawyer, said.
He said those who go to the courts go with the "hope and
expectation that justice will be done".
"The least that they expect from the system is an honest judge,
who will do justice according to law," Chidambaram said.
"Judicial activism that set out to protect the human rights is on
the right side. The wrong side of it does not conform to the text
of the constitution," he said.
Referring to the apex court proceedings on Public Distribution
system, Chidambram said that certain higher courts are over
ambitious as they believe that they can solve every thing.
The home minister said that government was alive to the need to
correct the PDS and tackling Maoist violence.
"I firmly believe that it should be done by the executive
(government) and the legislature with public support," Chidambaram
He said that America is faced with health care problems including
Medicare and medicure, but he was not aware if US Supreme Court
has stepped into this area.
According to him, not every problem facing the people could be
solved through the directions of the court.
In his keynote address, retired Supreme Court judge Kuldip Singh
said the recent reports of corruption in Indian judiciary were
"disturbing" despite being "minor as compared to various maladies
challenging the Indian society".
He said that the ailments inflicting the higher judiciary was
still in the stage of infection and could be treated by taking
recourse to complete accountability and transparency in the
appointment of judges and the working of the in-house mechanism to
deal with acts of wrong doing.
Kuldip Singh, who headed the Delimitation Commission, said that
the appointment of the chief justice of the Supreme Court should
be on the basis of selection and not seniority.
The former judge, who is credited with saving the existing forest
cover of Delhi, said all machinations and tricks of the trade come
into play when one knows that who will be the chief justice at any
given point of time.
He said that it goes to the credit of the apex court that it never
shut it eyes to the ailments inflicting it but was let down by the
Lok Sabha, referring to the failed impeachment proceedings against
Justice V. Ramaswami.
Former Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S.Verma, said that courts
should observe the "Lakshmana Rekha" of their jurisdiction and
should not encroach upon the domain of executive and parliament.
However, he said, courts could not shut their doors on the
aggrieved person approaching it. In such a situation there was
every possibility of such a person taking to recourse to extra
legal or unconstitutional means, he said.
He disapproved the apex court monitored sealing drive saying it
amounted to usurping the jurisdiction of other instrumentalities
of the State and ys governance.
Noted jurist K.K. Venugopal was of the view that the judicial
commission for the appointment of judges should include leader of
the opposition and certain eminent jurists, who are not members of
"This will also help in removing the inordinate delay in
appointments to the higher judiciary and checking nepotism," he
He said the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had already
passed a resolution accepting the provisions of the Constitution's
67th Amendment Bill, which provides for setting up of the
N. Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu, also listed the formation of
the commission as an immediate "national agenda".
"One of the immediate national agenda should be setting up of the
National Judicial Commission to make recommendations for judicial
appointments in the Supreme Court and high courts and draw up a
code of ethics," Ram said.
Film maker Mahesh Bhatt said that it was very important to deliver
justice to the people who are in a hurry to unshackle themselves.