The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers applauds the courageous step taken by the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court in placing, before “we, the people” as the ultimate authority, the impasse that has been created by the refusal of the Chief Justice of India to respond to their legitimate and responsible concerns over his recent administrative actions. In their letter written to the CJI two months ago and made public today, they have raised in particular the allocation of various important and sensitive cases in a manner that is violative of court traditions, norms and decorum to junior or handpicked judges thus raising apprehensions regarding the integrity of the Supreme Court. They have stated that Democracy is in danger if the Judiciary is not independent.
In doing so, they have affirmed what several courageous senior lawyers – Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, Indira Jaising, Kamini Jaiswal, Rajeev Dhawan etc. have been facing and fighting in sensitive matters such as the “Aadhar” case, the case for instituting an SIT into Judge Loya’s death in suspicious circumstances, the CJAR matter, the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid matter and many others.
This is the time when lawyers all over the country must rise to the occasion to publicly debate the issues of judicial appointments, judicial accountability, and judicial integrity in our Supreme Court and High Courts. The concern is not only regarding pendency, delay and corruption; but also the erosion in Constitutional values of social justice and nondiscrimination, freedom of speech and association, secularism and a socialist pattern of economy, while adjudicating cases. As “officers of the court” let us play our role in breathing life into our Constitution.
Adv. Surendra Gadling, General Secretary, IAPL
Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vice-President, IAPL