May 2018 smartGOV_eMagazine_May2018 - Page 36

Smart Governance ALettertoLawMinister including Justice Indu Malhotra, out of the total of 25? Maharashtra with five judges has a greater representation. Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have two each. True, there is only one person from your state as a judge of the Supreme Court. The point is that nobody sees them as representatives of states. They are on the Bench because they are eligible to hear all kinds of cases and give their verdicts without being partial to any caste or creed or language or region. I am sorry to say that you are the first to see Supreme Court judges as representatives of states. You say that appointing Justice KM Joseph would be unfair to other judges of the high courts. You are absolutely wrong on this. He is already a Chief Justice of a High Court. So he should be compared with chief justices of high courts, not judges of high courts. You did it deliberately to show Justice Joseph in a poorer light. Did Justice Joseph ask the Collegium to choose him? No, it was the Collegium which chose him in its abundant wisdom. While choosing judges, the Collegium did not go by seniority alone. In fact, it went by merit alone. I agree that merit is often an opinion. You may find Modi a great leader but there are millions of people who find him a disastrous leader. It is all a matter of opinion. You have brought up the subject of giving representation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Having mentioned it, do you want reservation for SC and ST categories at the Supreme Court level? I still remember how the then President KR Narayanan, who was also, incidentally, from Kerala, was pilloried when he wrote a letter to the CJI in which he gently suggested the need for representation of Dalits in the Supreme Court. I personally would be happy if you can persuade your party to introduce reservation for SCs and STs in the Supreme Court and High Courts. If you try, you will find yourself banished from the BJP. Now having said this, is Justice KM Joseph a hindrance for giving representation to such categories of people? The Supreme Court has a total of 31 posts of judge. I do not have to tell you that six posts of judge are vacant and you can persuade the Collegium to recommend the names of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to fill all the vacant posts, if necessary. By the way, the first Scheduled Caste person to become the Chief Justice of India was from Kerala. A poor lawyer can be judged by the extraneous issues he brings forward for want of valid points, while making his argument in a court of law. How truly the Bard had said that “sound and fury signify nothing”! We all know why you have rejected the Collegium’s proposal to appoint Justice KM Joseph. I wish you had the guts to say it. It is his verdict in 2016 against the dismissal of the Congress- led Uttarakhand government that has angered you and your party. Do you know, to quote the Bard again, that he is more sinned against than sinning? Anybody who has read the verdict in the SR Bommai vs Union of India case on Centre-state relations knows only too well that the floor of the House was the only forum where a government’s majority could be tested. Justice Joseph’s verdict clearly upheld the judicial principle that the Governor of Uttarakhand should have allowed the Chief Minister to prove 36 | May 2018 |