CJI Commentaries and Orders Highlight Supreme Court-Government Relationship
The CJI has since taken a firm position on whether the central government can enact a law incorporating provisions rescinded earlier.
In the Madras Bar Association case, the Supreme Court ruled that certain provisions concerning the service and tenure of members of the tribunal were unconstitutional. The government revived these provisions in its latest law.
The CJI criticized the government for enacting laws without even a semblance of debate to justify why it was introduced and lamented the erosion of the quality of parliamentary debates since independence.
At the last hearing, he threatened to suspend the application of the law unless the government reverses one of its decisions – abruptly terminating the mandate of the head of the National Company Law Appeal Tribunal a few times. days before he retires.
Attorney General KK Venugopal convinced the government to send the new appointee on leave for a few days so that the first appointee could finish his job and retire gracefully, ending the deadlock.
“It’s just noise. The truth is, nothing has been done about these appointments, ”a senior lawyer said on condition of anonymity, warning that it may be too early to pass judgment. “The government has so far named only four of the 13 names.”
In the Pegasus case over the alleged use of snooping spyware, CJI dismissed the government’s claim that everything that was done in the country was within the law.
Has spyware been used to violate the fundamental rights of citizens on a large scale? Has any government or foreign entity overstepped? An independent team set up by the tribunal, with the power to call witnesses and evidence, will examine these issues.
CJI, however, said the court was not interested in whether the spyware was being used to fight terrorism or deal with public order issues.
No one knows which direction this will go, but a message has been sent that CJI is serious, an expert has said.
A senior lawyer said there were signs of a clear deviation from CJI’s four-five immediate predecessors, which made it seem like they weren’t in a position to play the role of dog of constitutional guard as expected.
“CJI Ramana changed this perception of people about the judiciary,” said the senior lawyer, who declined to be identified. “The CJI is after all the leader of the judiciary. He shows the way. The way it works sends a message to high courts and district courts. He began to question those who hold power and are therefore responsible. This message has reached the lower courts.
Senior lawyer and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Dushyant Dave, said, “CJI Ramana certainly breathes fresh air into the institution.
But he still has a long way to go to give the Supreme Court the image it deserves. ”
“Over the past two decades, there has been a severe erosion of the independence of the court, resulting in an erosion of its status. People’s love for the institution has waned, ”said Dave. “If the CJI is really serious, and I’m sure it is, it must put its colleagues in confidence and together they must restore its authority and reaffirm its constitutional position as the watchdog of Parliament and the executive.
“Many serious questions of wide legal, constitutional and discretionary significance languish in the registry of the tribunal, affecting the lives and well-being of millions of citizens and of the Republic. It is only when these are addressed and decided that one can conclude that CJI is serious, ”said Dave. He was referring to the long list of complex constitutional issues that had yet to be heard by the court.
These include the legality of anonymous electoral obligations, the constitutionality of the government’s decision to dilute Article 370 and divide the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, the validity of the law amending the law on citizenship and the national register of citizens, and the disregard of banknotes as banknotes to bypass the Rajya Sabha.
Another senior lawyer cited the example of Aadhaar to explain where the court was going wrong.
“If you’ve been sitting on a case for five years, by the time you give a decision, 100 crore people have Aadhaar. By then, it is too late to reverse Aadhaar. It would also be very difficult to do anything about electoral ties if too many years go by, ”he said, asking not to be identified.
On the one hand, the CJI was able to bring four women judges to the highest court. But he was unable to get a foot on Judge Akil Kureshi, who was denied elevation to the Supreme Court despite being number two on the seniority list of judges from across the country. India, said lead counsel. The appointment of 300 High Court judges is in limbo, he said. However, acknowledging that CJI alone cannot turn the situation around, he said, “Unless the government plays its constitutional role, what will a CJI do? ”
Another senior lawyer said CJI had already made its mark administratively and was able to take the judges and the college with it. ” Things are moving forward. All the old cases are listed and are decided one way or another, ”he said, adding that all signs were positive. “We may not have Judge Akil Kureshi, but we have Judge Abhay Oke.”
CJI’s public statements show its determination, its system of values and beliefs, and its willingness to lend a helping hand, he said.
“CJI sent the message that you are responsible. In the next step, he must hold them to account. I hope he is doing it, ”said senior lawyer CS Vaidyanathan.
The judges also said things had started to improve since CJI Ramana took over. Odisha High Court Chief Justice S Murlidhar said last week that CJI had strengthened the foundations of the justice system.
Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that CJI has undoubtedly brought great dynamism and speed in decision-making. “The ability to bring colleagues to move appointments forward, transfers implemented and a nearly complete SC, three of which are women, is testament to this,” he said. “He must maintain this by addressing issues such as crumbling infrastructure and taking innovative steps like appointing ad hoc judges to fill the gaps in the transition,” Singhvi said. “Finally, he needs to remove a few outstanding and constitutionally important cases and eliminate them – religion / minority issues, J&K and political donor obligations, etc., are just a few examples. I have no reason to believe he will be late in these.
Another senior lawyer, however, warned against any hasty judgment on CJI, insisting it was too early. A CJI must first find its feet, continue to juggle competing pressures and that’s just the start, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We are still in the throes of containment. By January 2022, hopefully things will start to move, ”he said.
As the CJI said in Odisha, citing the literary giant of Odia Madhusudan Das, a man’s life is not counted in days, months or years but by his karma or his work.