Justice in tumult
The ‘Prasad Education Trust’ case in addition to several other developments in the recent past streamlines the imperativeness of bringing the ‘inner house’ of Judiciary in order along a more scientific and democratic lines which would not only strengthen the ‘institutional credibility’ of the Supreme but also extend a ‘moral force’ to judicial activism particularly in the direction of corruption free India. While there is no dispute regarding the ‘prerogative powers’ of the honorable ‘CJI’ to decide and determine the ‘allocation of business’ and composition of the bench (in so far as law in letter and word is concerned)’ the moot question is about that ‘spirit’ which is so effectively carried, wielded and reflected by the honorable Judges when it comes to uphold moral and ethical uprightness in ‘non judicial’ institutions. Given the seriousness and the gravity of the subject matter which ‘prima facia’ involves corruption in higher Judiciary, the honorable CJI could have allowed an exemplary preponderance of the maxim ‘justice should not only be done, it must also appear to have been done’ over and above his positional authority and privileges. It is difficult to accept an institutional paradigm for the governance of Judiciary which in terms of ‘basic principles and values’ stands at unjustified variance with what governs the contemporary trend of ‘Judicial Governance’. In simpler words, if the law is required to be read in letter and spirit, it cannot be allowed to entertain the selective application. It is high time, the honorable Judges steered the course of Judicial activism a little inwardly to explore a more credible institutional mechanism for its governance in keeping with the fundamental ‘doctrine of separation of powers’ read with the equally important doctrine of ‘checks and balance’. There just cannot be an ‘island of power’ in democracy.
The ‘Prasad Education Trust’ case in addition to several other developments in the recent past streamlines the imperativeness of Bringing the house of Judiciary in order along the more scientific and democratic lines so that it could continue with the adequate moral authority to its self proclaimed and all-pervasive mission of corruption free India.
Sajjan Pratap Singh Director, IIIASA