Judiciary asserts its primacy on many fronts

Source: http://www.hindu.com
J. Venkatesan

PM's plea on judges appointment rejected CJI has called for periodic review

New Delhi: The just-concluded year witnessed a major stand-off between the judiciary and the executive over appointment of judges to the Supreme Court. In the end, the court collegium asserted its primacy, rejecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's request that three names it recommended for elevation be reconsidered.

Following the court's decision, President Pratibha Patil appointed Justices A.K. Ganguly, R.M. Lodha and H.L. Dattu Supreme Court judges.

The Supreme Court upheld the appointment of Justice Ashok Kumar as judge of the Madras High Court, who was later shifted to the Andhra Pradesh High Court as permanent judge. It held that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) was not bound to consult other judges in the collegium while appointing an additional judge as permanent judge.

To weed out corrupt elements in the subordinate judiciary, the CJI asked the Chief Justices of the High Courts to periodically review the performance of district judges, assess their character and integrity and, if found unsuitable, to compulsorily retire them.

In the Ghaziabad Provident Fund scam, the CJI permitted the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the allegation that Rs. 15 lakh in cash was deposited at the residence of a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The CJI also ordered an in-house probe by a committee of three-judges and he is examining its report.

The apex court expanded the scope of Article 21 (right to life and liberty), saying a person's reputation is a facet of his 'right to life' and to protect this right, illegal preventive detention orders could be quashed even at the pre-execution stage through habeas corpus petitions. ..............