Sexual orientation has nothing to do with judge’s ability: Chief Justice

The CJI said there was no pressure from the government on how the case would be adjudicated. (document)

New Delhi:

Defending the Collegium system under which judges are appointed, India’s Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said on Saturday that not every system is perfect, but this is the best system developed by the judiciary, which is a link between the government and the judiciary. main focus of controversy.

exist India Today Conclave2023, the 50th CJI has also questioned SC Collegium over the controversy over the reaffirmation of openly gay senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a Delhi High Court judge after being rejected by the government.

Chief Justice Chandrachud said a judge candidate’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with his competence.

“The candidate you mentioned (Kirpal), every aspect mentioned in the intelligence report is in the public domain. The candidate in question is open about his sexuality. So, when the IB flags something, We’re not really opening up the IB’s sources of information. What could be at risk? Some might say that if you make the IB report public, you could be jeopardizing the IB’s source of information on national security issues. Someone’s life could be at risk middle.

“This was not a case like that. The IB report detailed the sexual orientation of an openly gay candidate for future judging. This was known throughout the industry and was widely reported in the media. We in the resolution All that is said is that a candidate’s sexual orientation has no bearing on a candidate’s ability or constitutional right to hold the senior office of a High Court judge,” he said.

In January, the Supreme Court committee reaffirmed its November 11, 2021 recommendation for the appointment of Kilpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court, rejecting the Center’s contention that despite the legalization of homosexuality in India, same-sex marriage remains outlawed. admit.

The goal of the Collegium system is to maintain independence, which is achieved by making it immune to outside influence, CJI said.

“As chief justice, I have to accept the system that has been given to us … I’m not saying every system is perfect, but it’s the best system we’ve developed. The purpose of this system is to maintain independence, which is a Fundamental value. If the judiciary must be independent, we must insulate the judiciary from outside influence. This is a fundamental characteristic of Collegium,” Chandrachud said.

In the wrestling between the government and the judiciary, CJI also responded to Minister of Justice Kiren Rijiju’s dissatisfaction with the full panel of the Supreme Court, revealing the reason why the government did not approve the appointment of the judges of the Constitutional Court recommended by it.

“He has a view. I have a view and there are bound to be different views. What’s wrong with having a different view? Even within the judiciary we have to deal with views. Dare I say there are differences of view within the government. But we Both handle it with forceful statesmanship.

“I don’t want to join the question with the Law Minister on his view. I respect his view and I’m sure he respects ours. The reason we’re bringing this up (the reason cited by the government for rejecting the judge’s name) is this on the SC website Collegium’s aspirations to address criticism of our lack of transparency and genuine belief that an open process will increase confidence in citizens,” the CJI said.

Asked how independent the Indian judiciary is and whether there is any pressure from the government, the CJI said there is absolutely no pressure from the government on how cases are adjudicated.

“In the 23 years I’ve been a judge, no one has told me how to decide a case. I won’t even talk to the colleagues presiding over the case and ask about the case. There are some lines we draw for ourselves. That’s part of our training… …

“There is no pressure issue from the executive branch of the government. I wish I spoke on behalf of the rest of the system as well. There is absolutely no pressure on the government. The Election Commission judgment proves that there is no pressure on the judiciary,” the CJI said.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioner will be made by the President on the advice of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons and the Chief Justice of India.

On the challenge of the judiciary facing 4.32 million pending cases, the CJI said there is indeed a large backlog of cases but it shows that people are confident in coming to the courts to get justice.

“We should deliver on the confidence of the people by increasing efficiency and reducing backlogs. This also shows the lack of infrastructure in the judiciary. Our ratio of judges to population is not proportionate to a country like ours. Regional judiciaries lack infrastructure.

“We need to fully modernize the Indian judiciary. Our judicial management model has always been based on the colonial model we inherited from the British. This colonial model must now give way because justice is not only a sovereign function but an essential functional service, “He said.

Elaborating on the appointment process, Chandrachud said the parameters used to select judges were well defined.

“First we look at the merits. We look at the professional competence of the judges. We constantly analyze the judgments of the High Court judges in the appeals before us. We access those judgments. At Collegium we all read the judgments at the same time. We distribute the judgments of the High Court judges. Judgment, they are considering it,” he said.

The second area Collegium focuses on is seniority, and the third is a broader sense of inclusion across gender, marginalized communities, predetermined castes and tribes, Chandrachud said, but not at the expense of merit.

“Fourth, to the extent possible, we try to provide adequate representation to the different high courts, states and territories. When considering the appointment of judges, we consult jurors (less senior) sent through the same high court Judge. There is equal participation of all stakeholders in the system,” he said.

On the issue of attacks on Supreme Court justices on social media, the CJI said it was important not to be swayed by the clamor of extreme views.

“I don’t follow Twitter. I think it’s important that we not be influenced by the extreme views you sometimes find on Twitter. I think social media is a product of time, not just technology. Today, there are cases in court It also puts a huge burden on us to have every word spoken live on Twitter,” CJI said.

Several opposition lawmakers recently demanded immediate action from President Droupadi Murmu to address social media attacks on Chandrachud while he was considering a case related to the governor’s role in Maharashtra during the formation of Eknath Shinde’s government.

The CJI has been critical of judges taking extended vacations, saying that India’s Supreme Court judges sit 200 days a year and that their vacations are used to ponder cases, read case law and reflect on the impact of their work on society.

“What we do in the Supreme Court between 10.30am and 4pm is a fraction of what we do. We spend the second night getting ready for the cases that will be heard the next day. The hours of reading are the same. Without exception, all justices of the Supreme Court work seven days a week,” the CJI said.

Chandrachud said much of the holidays were spent preparing for judgment. PTI PKS “We bring the World to you” Disclaimer: This email message may contain proprietary, confidential, or legally privileged information and is intended for use only by the recipient or entity The message was initially directed at . Please delete this email if it was not addressed to you.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)

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