Nagpur: A group of young lawyers from the city organized a debate on Sunday on the nationally concerned issue of independence of judiciary, corruption and nepotism. Speakers included academician and law practitioner Ramesh Shambharkar, IIT alumnus and author Sumedh Ukey and renowned lawyer Firdos Mirza. Social activist VM Maheshwar presided over the proceedings.
Speaking on the occasion, the law practitioner Ramesh Shambharkar said that the independence of judiciary does not affect the working of the lawyers or the common people. Then why are we worried about a decision that is not final yet? Because federal governance, democracy and participatory government system that we follow are dependent on judicial independence. He added the fear was about a regressive decision being made for a progressive nation and 100% impartiality in judicial appointments was not possible, it was important to have as much transparency in the procedure as possible.
However, IIT alumnus and author, Sumedh Ukey made his point that, “we lay a lot of stress on accountability of judges but not enough on their appointments. Several lacunae of the old system have been pointed out by those bringing in the new one. Whereas, there is no guarantee that the new system will solve them all. Whatever system comes into place, diversity of judgment and judges should be an important consideration.”
Renowned lawyer Firdos Mirza started the debate by stating the views of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on the matter and about many landmark decisions of the courts that have made some progressive changes in the society. The good things about the new system will be increased transparency, time-bound appointments and well defined selection criteria. The bad ones are that the sitting judges will always be under the threat of being superseded and transferred having lot of subjectivity involved in the procedure. He added that his expectations from any new system would be that it kept the promises made at the outset and must have a system to lodge complaints and address them.
The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014 was passed by voice vote along with one official amendment by Parliament. Along with it, the 99th Constitution Amendment Bill, which will give Constitutional status to the proposed Commission, was passed by 367 in favour and nil against.
According to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the new law where the Commission will decide appointment of judges to Supreme Court and High Courts, seniority along with “ability” and “merit” will be considered for elevation.