Tag: Supreme Court

Appointment of judges

In India appointment of judges is shrouded in secrecy. It is time to make it open.
The names of judges who are to be appointed to the Supreme Court and High Courts should be made public. Committees should be appointed to discuss the appointments. For Supreme Court judges a committee comprising members of Lok Sabha should be appointed. Anyone who has objection to the appointment should mention in to the committee. The candidate should be given an opportunity to defend himself or herself. Similarly for High Court judges a committee comprising members of Legislative Assembly of the state should be appointed and procedure followed. Judges should be appointed after the committee clears appointments.
There is talk of corruption in the judiciary. Some allegations are open. Once a judge is appointed it is very difficult to remove him or her. It is better and required that people know who are going to be the judges.
The process of removal of judges should be short. Once the required number of MPs sign the petition for removal the judge should be notified and called to appear before House, Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, within 15 days. If that House votes two third for the removal the next House must vote within a week.
Live telecast of court proceedings should be allowed. Exemption may be made when victim’s identity needs to be protected.
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Supreme Court and CBI

On 17/2/2010 Supreme Court in its judgment said that it or High Courts can order CBI investigations. It quoted to articles to justify its judgement. Attorney General was in agreement with the judgement.
The constitution specifies law and order a state subject. CBI could operate in a state only if the stated government handed over a case to it. There used to be demands for CBI inquiry because CBI was perceived to be an impartial organization which will do its duty without fear or favour.
By the judgment judiciary has encroached upon the sphere of state governments. Articles 32 and 226 empower the Supreme Court and High Court to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari. The articles do not give the power to order investigations.
There are other difficulties about CBI.
CBI is burdened with many cases. It does not have enough people to pursue the cases it already has and new cases.
CBI’s record is pathetic. Many times CBI officers are susceptible to fear or favour. It is likely that they will not do a better job than state police and many times may do a worse job. There is no guarantee that if the judiciary orders a CBI probe it will do better or guilty will be caught and punished. Jain hawala case is an example.
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Supreme Court, Marriage and Murder

On 10 December 2009 a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting Justice V. S. Sirupurkar and Justice Deepak Verma reduced the death sentence of Dilip Tiwari, a murderer, to 25 years of imprisonment because the victims were of “so called lower caste.”
Dilip Tiwari’s sister had married Prabhu, a member of Ezhavar caste of Kerala. Dilip Tiwari, a Brahmin, with the help of Sunil Yadav and Manoj, murdered Prabhu, Prabhu’s father Krishnan Nochil, Prabhu’s brother Bijit and a neighbour Abhyaraj at Andheri on 17 May 2004. They had hacked them to death. Prabhu’s mother India and sister Deepa were injured in the attack.
The Sessions Court had sentenced the murderers to death and Bombay High Court had confirmed it.
The judgment, inter alia, had the following sentences:
“…Caste is a concept which grips a person before his death and does not leave him even after his death. The vicious grip of the caste, community, religion, though totally unjustified, is a stark reality. The psyche of the offender in the background of a social issue like an inter-caste community marriage, though wholly unjustified, (Italics mine) would have to be considered in the peculiar circumstances.
It is common experience that when the younger sister commits something unusual and in this case it was an intercaste, intercommunity marriage out of the secret love affair, then in the society it is the elder brother who justifiably or otherwise is held responsible for not stopping such affair. It is held as the family defeat.
At times, he has to suffer taunts and snide remarks even from the persons who really have no business to poke their nose into the affairs of the family. Dilip, therefore, must have been (Italics mine) a prey of the so-called insult which his younger sister had imposed upon his family.
The murders were the outcome of a social issue like a marriage with a person of so-called lower caste. However, a time has come when we have to consider these social issues as relevant while considering the death sentence in the circumstances as these.”
This judgment is dangerous and should not be allowed to set a precedent. If something is wholly unjustified it should not be considered whether the circumstances are peculiar or otherwise. Intercaste marriage is not a peculiar circumstance, more so in Bombay.
The judgment says Dilip, therefore, must have been a prey. Either he was a prey or he was not. Even if he were a prey that did not give him a right to murder. If other people poke their nose they should be told to shut up. Since the judges were sure about him being a prey this sentence should not have been part of the judgment.
The judgment goes against equality enshrined in the constitution of India when it says “when we have to consider these social issues as relevant while considering the death sentence”. This justifies discrimination on the basis of caste and less punishment for people of “upper castes” for crimes against people of “lower castes”.
The Government of India must act. A review petition must be filed against this judgement in the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Law Minister Veerappa Moily must begin the process of removal of these judges Justice V. S. Sirupurkar and Justice Deepak Verma.

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