There is a growing debate in India about the Judiciary and its role. The successive judgements of the SC have created a kind of euphoria over the Judicial activism in our country. The SC is the custodian of the constitution of India. It has the power to decide the constitutionality of an act passed in the Parliaments. However, the independence of the judiciary in the Indian democratic situation is dependent on two factors: independent selection and incorporating diversity. Without these two factors, the Judiciary will be at the mercy of the executives and the parliament.
The collegium formed by the SC judges was the body that selected the judges in the High Court and the BJP/RSS Government wanted to intrude in the process of selecting the judges and hence the selection of the judges also became a political process. Indian judiciary is feudal in nature as a few families from particular castes are dominating the Judiciary and hence there is a clear-cut need for bringing the people from diverse backgrounds in the Indian Judiciary.
When the RSS/BJP did not accord with the idea of the collegium, it came out with National Judiciary Administration Commission (NJAC) and came up with the Manual of Procedure (MoP) to appoint the judges. The SC Collegium has some issues with some of the aspects of the procedures. But, the most interesting issue in all this mess is the invoking of the SC judgment of July this year, which punished Justice Karnan for the contempt of the court and the RSS/BJP Government is citing that case to push for the executive interference in selecting the judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
Justice Karnan was the victim of the nepotism as no one considered his case with the juridical point of view when he cried foul and raised the issue of caste-based discrimination. Justice Karnan is a Scheduled Caste and likes of him who have attained to the post of the High Court Judge are rare. He could become the High Court Judge because he has legal acumen and talent to judge. The top brass in the higher judiciary completely neglected his plea of justice. On the contrary, the RSS/BJP Government is citing his case to push executive interference which implies the political interference.
Looking at the case of Justice Karnan and the dominance of the few families in the judiciary, it is important to create an independent body with the reservation for SC, ST, and the OBCs so that the Judiciary becomes responsible to all the segments of the Indian population. Citing the case of Justice Karnan as the reason for political interference shows that RSS/BJP is not truly committed to bringing in diversity in India.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist