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Where is ‘Independence of the Judiciary’?

After years of its existence, the meaning of the ‘independence of the judiciary’ is still not clear. Our constitution has given the provisions of the ‘independence of the judiciary’ but it is nowhere defined the ‘independence of the judiciary’. The primary talk on the topic is based on the principle of separation of powers which holds its existence from several years. The principle of separation of powers talks of the ‘independence of the judiciary’ as an institution from the executive and the legislature. In India, when judicial appointments are done by politicians then how can we imagine, the face of the judiciary will change? What Modi said is right. However, can he dare to speak about the manipulations in Gujarat riot cases? Unless and until judges and judiciary works without any political interference then only it is possible to achieve something for the betterment of judicial system of this country.

Moreover, it is a treacherous tendency where the Prime Minister of the country tells the top court what it should do and how it should do and instruct what it should not do. As for five-star activists, I recall that it was Public Interest Litigation that brought out the 2G scam and the Coalgate scandals. It was PIL which brought the Supreme Court to intervene that ultimately led to be auctioning of spectrum and coal mines. This was not due to the intervention of VIPs like Modi. Judicial processes are allowed to be slow, due to vested interests. Several rich and influential do not get punishment at all. This is the time to change the course of the case. Money plays a prominent role in the judgement. Rich can buy the justice and poor languishes in jails. For anyone rich or poor, minister or sinister leaders, can make judiciary to work. Now, judiciary is a political tool. These are processes made by British to rule colonies and that deserve to be thrown into dust bin.

Narendra Modi delivered a lengthy speech on, how judiciary is getting powerful. It is necessary that it also becomes “perfect” to live up to the expectations of the people. The judiciary should be both powerful as well as perfect. This is the place that is trusted by common people. There is a lot of responsibility on judges as God has made them to carry out divine functions. If Judiciary order a death sentence to any person, when that person comes out of court he says that he still believes in the judiciary. The need of the hour is to develop an internal mechanism for self-assessment, where the government and the politicians have no role. Modi said if such a mechanism is not evolved and the faith in the judiciary is affected even a little bit, it will hurt the nation. Modi’s remarks came close on the heels of an impeachment motion being moved in Parliament against a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court for alleged sexual harassment of a woman judicial officer. Talking about the scrutiny that the government and political class faces, the Prime Minister said the executive has set up institutions like Election Commission, RTI and Lok Pal despite knowing that these would place a check on the executive.

Every person in our country accepts that judiciary should be independent without any interference from either political parties or from Government officials. But unfortunately, it is neither happening nor happened previously for many reasons. Judges do eye for some post retirement benefits from the governments (Read: Chairman of some Commissions or Panels). So, they pronounce judgements either in favour of the Government or detrimental to the other sides. In the recent past, if you see the appointments in the higher rankings in the judiciary, then you will doubt the credentials of the appointments. Many judges have been proved that they are corrupt through the stings of the News channels. In many cases, with the help of the lawyers, judges drag the case to such an extent that they mint money as much as they can. Lakhs of cases are pending in the courts due to these types of reasons. Hence, if the Judiciary is set to order truth and impose clean image then even the politicians and bureaucrats will fear with it, otherwise the present scenario will continue forever.

Modi’s speech was as usual ‘listen and forget’ type, because he said nothing new. His speech was the simple repetition of opinions which was already said by experts in this field. The greatness is not in using loud words, but in deeds. Let the PM do something useful and positive in this direction unlike the amendments he proposed in Land Acquisition Bill 2013, in which he strangulates the farmers and pleases the land grabbers in the disguise of industrialisation.

Isn’t it an alarming fact that citizens of the democracy are losing faith in regular law enforcement agencies? The institutions that are established to protect people are perceived as overburdened, inefficient and corrupt. Widespread bribery of judges around the world and inappropriate political interference in legal systems deny millions their right to a fair and impartial trial. The judiciary has been kept outside the purview of the court of public opinion to ensure its credibility as an impartial arbiter of disputes. However, this insulation has created a culture of complacence and inefficiency because the ‘rod of punishment’ is absent. India has already arrived at a stage where nobody can tinker with the independence of the judiciary. However, to exhort to strengthen the role of law, the judiciary will have to ensure that it is completely corruption-free.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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