TODAY -

You can't defile a Judge like that

Free Thinker *



A Judge of a High Court or the Supreme Court including the CJ (Chief Justice) can be fired (impeached) by an overwhelming number of MPs on the basis of proven misbehaviour or incapacity. But the intricacy lies with the meaning and scope of proven misbehaviour or incapacity as these jargons are not vividly defined anywhere.

Misbehaviour may cover a range of activities including bribery, decision fixing, teasing lawyers, drinking at the Bar with Bar members, wife/husband beating, borrowing money from advocates and not returning, watching obnoxious videos in the Chamber, sleeping with others spouses etc.

Incapacity again constitute lack of ability, loss of ability to do things in the desired way and style; it includes incompetent handling , inability to perform, insufficient energy, powerlessness, impotency etc.

It is universal truth that no one is hundred percent honest or cent percent upright or perfectly perfect physically and mentally or having godly mannerism and behaviour or absolutely Saint-like.

However we expect relatively better persons as Judges in our Courts because they are the personalities who are supposed to deliver justice. Common people have high regards and expectations from them and hence there ought to be no trust deficit in the relationship.

There are allegations that some Judges are having a good time with the leaders of the day; there are wild charges that they are hobnobbing with the politicians; there are again unfounded charges of having unsolicited nexus with the top lawyers; there are unproven allegations of Bench fixing and manipulated decisions. These are absolutely unnecessary aspersions which cannot be proven without reasonable doubts. Such bewildered indictment were also there in the 70's.

However, there is a tendency on the part of the Executive to interfere in the affairs of the Courts. Such a tendency is on the rise whenever the Government is more robust and under a powerful leader.

Any infringement on the jurisdiction of the Courts certainly weaken the institution of judiciary. There is another story on the contrary that whenever there is a weak government the Courts indulge in more judicial activism and frequently overreaching.

What is much needed today is respect for the rule of law and a fine balance amongst the institutions. Institutions are extremely important in the smooth functioning of democracy.

In fact the democratic institutions like Legislature, Executive , Judiciary and Press are the real pillars of democracy.

Respecting one another is the most fundamental component of a successful vibrant democracy. Otherwise we will be acting like our neighbours where Prime Ministers and Presidents are put behind bars for bribery and Judges and Chief Justices are dismissed on flimsy grounds and generals are exiled for wrongdoings. But we are different, I hope so.

In a lighter vein, I would like to narrate a story of a lady leader who spoke about five pillars of democracy in a function; but she forgot to tell what the fifth pillar was? I was very curious to know the fifth pillar of democracy. When enquired she told me that the fifth pillar is the NGOs. Later I came to know that the lady owns many NGOs.

Again it reminds me of an incident that took place in London, United Kingdom . When John Major was the Prime Minister of Britain, his son was arrested by the police for drunken driving.

The Prime Minister did not interfere to save his son, rather he allowed the law to take its own course. It was reported that he himself went to the police station as a father and not as PM to bail out his son. This is an imitable behaviour and it shows how institutions are respected and laws are followed.

A signature campaign among the MPs for an impeachment motion against a Judge may be construed as a warning or a threat to behave. Only fifty signature is required in the Upper House and a hundred in the Lower House for such a move.

No doubt it is easier to mobilise fifty than a hundred. What is worrisome here is that whether it amounts to unnecessary intimidation of an institution by another. These are serious ponderable points.

George Bernard Shaw once said, "politics is the last resort for the scoundrel".

It may not be cent percent true, but still I don't understand the rational behind impeachment of Judges on the pretext of misbehaviour or incapacity by politicians, majority of whom belong to GB Shaw's definition.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on May 08 , 2018.



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