Can't have a litigant decide who will be a judge, says lawyer

Last Updated 25 May 2018, 16:58 IST

Activist lawyer Colin Gonsalves today accused the government of interfering in the affairs of the judiciary and said a litigant cannot decide who a judge will be.

"In my opinion, the system of 'judges selecting judges' is better than the executive selecting them. You cannot have a litigant (government) decide as to who will be a judge," he said at a citizen's conclave here on 'Building An Inclusive India'.

Gonsalves spoke about the alleged sour relations between the executive and the judiciary and said the "battle had started with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act issue where the Centre had tried to bring in a dangerous legislation of giving the government a role in appointing judges".

"Thanks to the bench headed by Justice J S Khehar (who later became the CJI) that it was held unconstitutional," he said at a session on 'judiciary and rule of law' moderated by former Bombay High Court's Justice B G Kolse Patil.

Gonsalves said "when the government lost the battle, they started another battle by not appointing judges at all. There is a huge crisis in judiciary and they are virtually killing it."

He said the Supreme Court has 13 different benches with judges of different mindset. "There will be some judges who will be cosy with the government to obtain benefits while some are fiercely independent and very hard working." he said.

Gonsalves also said the January 12 press conference held by the four senior most judges of the apex court was "a dedicated and bold decision".

"They were subjected to terrific pressure and criticism by many people but we are proud of them," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, senior advocate Rebecca John said since no action was taken against the attackers of former JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar during his production before a Delhi court, a wrong precedent has been set.

"This was followed by those who prevented the police from filing a charge sheet in the Kathua gangrape and murder case. They were assured that nothing will happen to them," she said.

(Published 25 May 2018, 15:55 IST)

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