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the bench

13 July 2015

DJS detectivesCandidates for the controversial 2014 Delhi Judicial Service (DJS) exam have painstakingly cross-referenced a list of offspring and others close to Delhi high court judges against the 15 who passed the DJS exams, received a surprising RTI response, and established that 64 judges who had passed or topped judicial services exams in other states, failed in last year's DJS exam outright.

07 July 2015

SC judges' salariesThe Chief Justice of India (CJI) used to earn Rs 5,000 per month in 1957, which is equivalent to Rs 3.05 lakh per month in today’s money accounting for inflation. The CJI’s actual salary is Rs 1 lakh per month. We have a problem.

07 July 2015

The Supreme Court dismissed a Right to Information (RTI) appeal that had asked for judges’ medical expenses, citing judges’ right to privacy, reported the Indian Express.

The court was hearing advocate Prashant Bhushan for RTI activist Subhash C Aggarwal.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu said: “There should be some respect for privacy and if such information is disclosed, there will be no stopping. Today, someone is asking for information on medical expenses. Tomorrow, he will ask what are the medicines purchased by the judges. When there will be a list of medicines, he can make out what type of ailment the judge is suffering from. It starts like this. Where does this stop?”

Bhushan argued that this decision will set a bad precedent for other public servants who will use it to stonewall similar requests.

01 July 2015

Dhananjay: Judges are human beings, feedback could help them improveKarnataka high court and Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjay has commissioned a web developer to build a website that is intended to allow advocates to rate judges on three parameters - knowledge, integrity and cordiality.

19 June 2015

Delhi high court Justice Gian Parkash Mittal, who was appointed as an additional judge in the high court in 2010, has resigned according to the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

03 June 2015

Three graduates from NLSIU Bangalore - K S Bharath Kumar (2001 batch), Nerale Veerabhadraiah Vijay (2001) and Nerale Veerabhadraiah Bhavani (1999) - will become Karnataka district judges, alongside advocates Vijayakumar Malasiddappa Anandashetti and Ravi M R, reported Bar & Bench.

They will be sworn in on 8 June.

15 May 2015

ThappetaAdvocate and patent lawyer Naren Thappeta, armed with rigorous data, argues that ‘Eminent People’ must consider metrics in judicial appointments.

04 February 2015

Since 2011 the Supreme Court of India seems to have got the message that relying on Wikipedia too much is simply not a good idea; India’s high courts? Not so much...

Read more of Alok Prasanna Kumar’s research on Livemint, in association with Legally India.

24 November 2014

The Times of India reported that the purchase of laptops by over 300 judges of the lower courts will be examined by Delhi chief justice G Rohini and a panel, after discrepancies were raised into how the money was spent, with allegations that some may have bought TVs or home theatre systems rather than computers.

Due to alleged impropriety in using the Rs 1.1 lakh grant by one district judge, meant for the purchase of laptops and computers, the elevation of a batch of five district judges including him has also been stalled, according to another report by the Times of India.

Pending inquiry against the accused judge by Rohini, the process for elevating all the five judges whose names had been recommended for elevation to the Delhi high court, is in limbo.

20 August 2014

Sessions court judge MT Gaikwad has been suspended in South Mumbai after a preliminary inquiry about a complaint from a female member of the court staff complained of his “inappropriate behaviour” - in particular, by staring at her in an offensive manner, reported the PTI. The preliminary inquiry was conducted by special judge SD Tulankar, with Gaikwad now facing a departmental inquiry.

30 July 2014

The Law Commission chairman Justice AP Shah has recommended that the tenure of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) should be fixed to at least two years, and that the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should consist of at least four judges, including the CJI as chairperson, reported The Hindu and the Indian Express.

The minimum CJI tenure should take effect after the current roster of sitting Supreme Court judges in line for the CJI post will have retired by August 2022, with Justice NV Ramana as the last CJI under the old system, recommended Shah in a note he sent to the law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Furthermore, he recommended that judges should have a three year “cooling off period” after retirement before they take up any government jobs. The JAC, apart from the four sitting Supreme Court judges, should also include the law minister, with an eminent jurist and an eminent member of civil society picked by the CJI, the prime minister and the leader of the Lok Sabha opposition.

Shah’s proposal was reportedly discussed in Monday’s meeting between the law ministry and top lawyers and retired judges.

17 July 2014

“Daring” the government to do away with laws requiring tribunals to be headed by judicial members chief justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said that it is these laws that create a public perception that retired judges are “running and running and running after tribunals”, reported the Economic Times.

He reportedly said:

The government enacts all these laws insisting that they be headed by judicial members. This creates a perception among the public that retired judges are running and running and running after tribunals

The CJI was part of a five-judge bench hearing a petition challenging the central government’s move to create, among other things, a National Tax Tribunal and a Companies Appellate Tribunal, when he said this.

19 June 2014

The law ministry has returned the file to elevate senior counsel Gopal Subramanium to the Supreme Court bench to the collegium, which will again have to reconsider whether it wants to elevate the advocate, though the ministry cleared the elevation of senior counsel Rohinton Nariman and high court chief justices Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goes for the president's confirmation, reported The Hindu.

The collegium of the Supreme Court has the option to again put forward Subramanium, which the government would have to go with, contrary to earlier opinions by advocates suggesting the government would have the option of delaying elevations indefinitely by sitting on files and never returning them to the collegium.

16 June 2014

Prashant Reddy: Listening to FaliDelhi lawyer Prashant Reddy argues that many of the plans for reforming the Indian courts fail to see the most fundamental problem - a lack of transparency – and proposes several ideas to fixing it.