High Court judge fires another salvo

High Court judge fires another salvo

Impeachment procedure does not work in reality: Justice Kumar

In an article titled ‘Judicial Accountability’, written for the Conference of Karnataka State Advocates which will be inaugurated in Hubli on December 27, Justice Kumar refers to, without taking names, the inaction and inertia of the higher judiciary in relation to the strong allegations of corruption and misdemeanour against Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. Justice Kumar’s article which is posted on his website (http://sites.google.com/site.justdvskumar), comes a few days after five judges of the HC including he, held a closed door meeting on Justice Dinakaran continuing to discharge administrative duties.

Referring to the impeachment motion moved against Justice Dinakaran in the Rajya Sabha recently, Justice Kumar holds the view that for the present, there is no other mechanism to discipline an errant judge of a superior court. He says “If the past experience is any indication, the impeachment procedure does not work in reality and practice. More so in the present political system in the country with fragmented political parties and views.”

Stating that the impeachment mechanism is not a ‘practical methodology of disciplining an errant judge of a superior court,’ Justice Kumar in effect, hints at a more foolproof system of accountability since he believes that superior court judges are immune from any oversight.  Virtually questioning the moral authority of the Chief Justice of India (in the backdrop of CJI K G Balakrishnan’s role in la affaire Dinakaran) Justice Kumar says that the CJI’s “moral authority to ensure that erring judges fall in place and behave themselves is a misnomer and misconception.”

In this context, Justice Kumar points out that “the moral authority of the CJI is of no value or significance, unless it can have some binding effect, which is not provided under the Constitution.”  He goes on to liken the CJI to a fangless serpent who can only hiss and not bite.

Clearly directing his ire against Justice Dinakaran and indicating that he “is a brazen person on whom no moral authority binds,” Justice Kumar indirectly seeks a stronger mechanism to ensure that errant judges are held accountable. He exhorts the lawyers to ensure that the judges conduct themselves in a proper manner in discharging their judicial functions.