It is a matter of great satisfaction that Rajya Sabha was not divided on political lines in passing impeachment-motion against a sitting High Court Judge Soumitra Sen first time in the history of free India. Otherwise a political and regional divide had stalled passing of first-ever impeachment motion in Lok Sabha against Justice Ramaswamy of Supreme Court despite his having been ‘socially’ boycotted by his brother judges at Supreme Court.
But were only these two judges from among thousands of judges of higher courts actually corrupt as detected by the system in an era when even a Supreme Court bench is on record to admit presence of phenomenon of ‘Uncle judges’? There must have been numerous cases of mute judicial victims created by present system of country virtually having an unaccountable judicial system. ‘Judicial Accountability Bill’ in its present form before the Parliament is effectively a ‘Corrupt Judges Protection Bill’ which needs to be replaced by a proper Bill like one suggested by eminent Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
A permanent National Judicial Commission should be formed with retired Supreme Court judges as its member-nominees of the President, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Chief Justice of India, Bar Council with Chief Vigilance Commissioner as ex-officio members to endorse appointment of judges in higher courts and to probe charges against them. Commission’s recommendations may be final and sufficient for President of India to order removal of guilty-found judge/s apart from confiscating wealth and assets of such judge/s and their family-members. Even all judicial panels and commissions formed by Union or state governments should be constituted by such a National Judicial Commission to ensure impartial and unbiased investigations.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal