Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rajya Sabha debate on Judges' Salaries Bill

The debate in Rajya Sabha on the Bill to increase the Judges' salaries is, like the Lok Sabha debate earlier, equally noteworthy. Arun Jaitly, a former Law Minister, used the occasion to reflect on the process of Judges' appointments, and the procedure to investigate minor allegations against the Judges. Other members too shared their concern about related issues.

Among other speakers, Ram Jethmalani's speech was provocative: he deplored the fact that we are yet to build a monument for Justice H.R.Khanna, who had the courage to dissent in the A.D.M.Jabalpur case. D.Raja made a forceful plea for declaration of assets by Judges. The Law Minister reiterated the points which he made in the Lok Sabha. Overall, the debate in the Upper House reveals some Members' defence of judicial review or activism - which is interesting when we know that political class in general is opposed to judicial activism.

2 comments:

tarunabh said...

i am very glad you are blogging about the content of parliamentary debate - it is one area where academic and journalistic attention has been missing (Dhavan's book being an exception). a much better way to judge politicians than armchair criticism calling them crooks.

R Hameed said...

This might be a belated comments but that is because I came across this piece late.

I am quite surprised at how little the Supreme Cout judges have been paid up to now. If corruption is to be eliminated from the courts then the judges should be given a decent remuneration. It takes money to maintain an independent status.

It is easy for parliamentarians to carp about the corruption in the judiciary but the Executive ought to take a part of the blame for the crisis of confidence that has supposedly afflicted the Indian judiciary. Indira Gandhi’s politically motivated appointments to the Supreme Court comes to my mind. What did Parliament do then?

Those members who kept carping about the supremacy of Parliament should be given a crash course on the Constitution. Parliament is supreme to the extent that the Constitution allows it. If parliament does not choose to act within the constraints of the Constitution then it is for the judiciary to say so. And in doing so the judiciary does not somehow become superior to Parliament.