Sunday, February 04, 2007

In my humble opinion....

Despite noticing the fact that the handful of readers this blog has, have largely ignored posts penned by me relating to political news or media, I continue to write such posts, for the simple reason that I would like to write them.

Today, on CNN-IBN, I was watching honourable Chief-Justice of India K G Balakrishnan talking to Karan Thapar of 'HardTalk India' fame. The talk show covered mainly the judiciary, it's accountability, and the growing perception among people that there is corruption in the judiciary. As always, Karan Thapar, posed a lot of questions, and posed them well too. But, frankly, with due respect to our Chief Justice(Judiciary is one arm of the Government, that I still respect a lot, despite what people say about it.), I felt the answers weren't satisfactory.

"Do you think the Chief Justice of India(CJI) should also come under the scanner of the National Judicial Commission being set up to probe charges of corruption against judges?", asked Mr. Thapar.
The CJI, although had no objection to put himself under the scanner, he did not quite like the concept because it would "denigrate the office of the Chief-Justice". Now, this is a very deceptive and dangerous logic(again with due respect to the Honourable Chief Jusice), that I find hard to buy because the same logic will then be cited by our politicians to include Prime-Minister, President, Chief-Ministers, and other 'nationally or regionally important' ministers to be out of the purview of any anti-corruption agency.

Then came a question about making asset-declaration mandatory for judges. To this the answer was totally unconvincing for me. The CJI opined that, that would deter 'self-respecting advocates' from becoming judges. Now, when we talk of transparency in the government, we should remember that the government includes the judiciary. If transparency is expected to deter talented advocates to become judges, this is really very disheartening for an ordinary citizen like me.

The CJI said that he is not opposed to any new ideas that can better the judiciary in the country. But the above two steps, to which he is not favourably inclined, go a long way in cleansing any doubts in people's minds about the integrity of judges and strengthening their belief in judiciary. A strong, working, clean judiciary, and that is also perceived so by the people, is very essential for our democracy to survive and succeed. Mr. Chief Justice, please do a rethink of what you have said.

Here's the full interview.