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03 November 2015

SC open to good adviceAs the Supreme Court’s five-Judge Constitution Bench presided over by Justice JS Khehar began its hearing on reforming the collegium (the in-house mechanism to recruit Judges to the higher judiciary after its recent revival by the same bench) the bench sought advice from counsel on both sides on how to navigate the plethora of diverse proposals which it received.

03 November 2015

As Justice Khehar-led Constitution Bench reassembles today (3 November) to hear proposals for reforming the revived collegium to select judges of the higher judiciary, it cannot help listening to the echoes of its momentous decision to strike down the 99th Amendment Act and the NJAC Act in their entirety, even two weeks after it was delivered on 16 October.

28 October 2015

Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara has filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th constitutional amendment reported the Times of India.

Nedumpara asserts in his petition that the law creating the NJAC deserves to live because it was passed by the parliament after ratification by 20 state legislatures, that the collegium system is “incurable” and that the Supreme Court’s decision to quash the law created a public perception that there was “a deceptive/clever attempt on the part of the Supreme Court to retain the power of appointing judges, which they have been enjoying for the last more than 22 years”.

Mathews also, reportedly, claimed that it is “preposterous to think” that the court has jurisdiction to declare what India’s law should be.

“There is only one hope i.e. the judges themselves realise in all humility that they are fallible and they have erred in passing the verdict. Even the Pope, once regarded as infallible, is no longer considered to be so. If the powerful Catholic Church could accept the theory of fallibility, the judges of the Supreme Court too should readily accept their fallibility and acknowledge that they have erred,” the petition reportedly states.

The Supreme Court had quashed the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act and 99th Constitutional Amendment Act as illegal two weeks ago.

22 October 2015

Justice Kurian Joseph’s historical counterfactual: If only the bench that heard the First Judges case in 1981 had not ignored Samsher Singh, there would not have been Second Judges, Third Judges, and Fourth Judges cases later.

21 October 2015

Uneven Burder (Graphic by Prajakta Patil / Mint)

Long live the collegium and it'll have to… If it continues at the same rates as for the last decade, it'll take 33 years to fill high court vacancies.

16 October 2015

The future independence or otherwise of the judiciary will be decided today in the fourth judges case, ruling on the validity or otherwise of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).

19 August 2015

The justices will have to choose one of many bad optionsDebate around the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) has often been emotive rather than dispassionate, with the discourse ranging from senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani calling it an “evil absurdity” to attorney general Mukul Rohatgi pointing to judges who habitually turned up late in court as a reason to ditch the existing collegium system to select judges.

30 June 2015

Madhya Pradesh district and sessions judge Jagdish Baheti has filed a petition before the Supreme Court over the Madhya Pradesh high court collegium’s decision to elevate his juniors but not him, due to a chargesheet against him alleging that he had granted defendants anticipatory bail on the basis of incorrect facts, reported the Indian Express’s Utkarsh Anand.

He has asked for the elevation process to be stayed until the close of the internal inquiry against him in the case that will be heard by Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu in July, Baheti had made the news in 2013 for concluding a rape trial in nine days, and had previously appealed before the Supreme Court the inquiry against him, which had told the high court to hear his plea where it was dismissed.

27 June 2015

"Justice [Gyan Sudha] Misra, who although sat a little after the scheduled time, never compromised by rising just after half-an-hour. She was the last one to leave the court premises, be it the Supreme Court or High Court. There were absolutely no cause-lists that were not exhausted by her and no judgments that were not churned out by her,” wrote her daughter, advocate Unnati Misra, in a letter to attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, as reported by the Indian Express’s Utkarsh Anand.

She was referring to Rohatgi’s repeated attacks on now retired Supreme Court judge Justice Misra’s habit of coming late to court as a notable example of a bad appointment made by the collegium, in his argument for the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) before the Supreme Court, saying he had “run down the reputation of people who have given their sweat and blood to judicial institutions, all in the name of NJAC, are reflective of bias and based on superficiality”.

However, Unnati Misra said that her mother had been recommended for the Supreme Court in 1986 before the collegium system and she was approved by six chief justices and Chief Justices of India (CJIs) before her elevation to the apex court in 1998 as the fourth woman to ever do so. She also wrote that her Justice Misra had fought “personal battles” caring for her ill husband, who passed away shortly after her retirement.

In 2013, Justice Misra had hit back at a Times of India column arguing that judges were “ultimately human beings” and not “robots”, and that judges “cannot be expected to give an account of every single minute or else face derogatory publicity”.

18 June 2015

MM PunchhiMadhan Mohan Punchhi, who passed away aged 81 last night, was Chief Justice of India (CJI) between 18 January 1998 and 9 October 1998.