Monday, September 21, 2009

Our own Robert Bork moment?

Here's an opinion piece I wrote in today's Indian Express on whether the dispute over Justice Dinakaran's appointment is our own 'Robert Bork moment' i.e. it fundamentally questions the appointment process to the Supreme Court. I refer to jurist Fali Nariman's idea of an ombudsman. A couple of questions linger on in my mind.
1. How important were the Indira Gandhi years in pushing the judiciary to self-select? After all, the cases in which it did so (the 1993 and 1998 judges cases) took place around 15 years after Mrs. Gandhi's supersession of judges. Are there instances of political meddling in the intervening years that form the backdrop for the judges' cases?
2. I use two measures to judge 'fairness' in appointment decisions: cross-institutional concurrence and public scrutiny. What are the other realistic checks and balances?
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