53. Judicial Accountability I : a Discussion

In Blog 24 we discussed an article by one of the eminent Jurists of India: Mr. Soli Sorabjee and Published in the Indian Express on 12 Nov. 2011. We ought to be grateful to the Great Jurist who has reproduced Justice Ruma Pai’s lecture and commented on it. Also a big Thank you to the esteemed newspaper. I am using the material to train the future Civil Servants. It is a fantastic and realist analysis on the working of the Judiciary.We shall discuss this question in two parts.

Continuong the series , the first Part will examine the terns Judicial Independence and Judicial Accountability. We shall contrast Executive and Legislative responsibility with Judicial responsibility. Also we shall have a look at the responsibility of the Higher and Lower judiciary.

You are invited to study carefully the earlier blog no 24.

22 thoughts on “53. Judicial Accountability I : a Discussion

    1. The idea that judges should be free stems from the provision in the Indian constitution that separates the Judiciary from the executive and legislature making it an independent body or the conscious-keeper of the constitution.However, the demand for an accountability of the judiciary stems from the recent cases on scandals pertaining to justice P D Dinakaran and K G Balakrishnan.The dilemma is whether the corruption within the judiciary should be checked with the executive and legislature taking preeminence or should constitute as to the vision of the constitution of keeping the judiciary separate.

      In our country it will be better to have an independent body within the judiciary away from the ambit of the legislature and executive to check corruption and recommend impeachment by the legislature

    2. The concept of judges should be free stems from the fact that the judiciary is independent from the other two organs of the government . The question of whether the independence guaranteed by the constitution has resulted in judges being accountable should be viewed from the evolutionary part of the constitutional organs. The demand for accountability comes from the scandals that hit justice Dinakaran and Balakrishnan.
      however the dilemma is whether to vest the power with legislature and executive in reigning corruption in the judiciary or asking the judiciary to evolve a structure from within itself that is indirectly accountable to the legislature and executive through the president for accountability

    3. Judges should be free:
      1. From Executive’s interference
      2. From fear/favours
      3. Must enjoy academic freedom..i.e., in writing judgments etc.

      But, they are accountable to the Constitution and the law of the land. It is quite sad that the former CJI of SC had challenged the coming of CJI under RTI’s purview in Delhi High Court some time ago.

      Also, they must be transparent with regard to their financial transactions, accumulation of wealth etc.

      Judiciary is the guardian of our Constitution. Judges must be upright so that the people have faith in them.

    1. My opinion is solely based on the Indian constitution

      The Indian constitution ensures the independence of the judiciary so that the legislature nor the executive can bypass the constitutional vision of what the country ought to be, a pluralistic democracy with justice, equality and fraternity. The judiciary is force that checks the tampering of the constitution and preserves the spirit of its writers.

    1. Judicial Accountability in simple terms means answerable to the law of the land. The Judiciary is accountable to the Constitution. It is for this reason that while the executive takes an oath to abide by the constitution, the judiciary takes an oath to uphold the constitution. Since it is the people who have given the Constitution to themselves, the judiciary is indirectly accountable to the people.

    1. The ministers are accountable to the Parliament or the state legislature as the case may be. They are answerable to the parliament for their actions and responsibilities entrusted in them.

    1. Governors are the ambassadors of the President in the State. They are answerable to the President and in turn to the Union Cabinet, and not to the State.

    2. governor is the chief and nominal executive head of the state.
      he is appointed by the president and acts as agent of central government in the state .therefore he is responsible to the union government. because he is not elected by people directly or indirectly by the electoral college he is not responsible to the people of the state.

    1. Judiciary is said to be accountable only to the Constitution, which is framed by people of India for themselves. So, in an indirect manner judiciary is accountable to the people.

      Legislature is a body of representatives of the people, and hence judiciary holds accountability to legislature as well.

      To the Executive, probably judiciary is not accountable.

    1. Judiciary is structured in a Unitary form. All the subordinate courts have their discretionary powers but their judgements are subject to appellate authority. A judgement they give must be supported with appropriate reasoning. They can be held ‘accountable to the higher judiciary’ for any misuse of their power and disciplinary action can be taken against them.

      The higher judiciary on the other hand, including High Courts of the States and the Supreme Court, is accountable only to the Constitution, so in an indirect fashion to the people.

    1. The decisions of the High court are subject to appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, though the aggrieved party is not always in a position to do so due the amount of fees involved. This remedial measure provided by Article 136 is thus sometimes called as not fully comprehensive in nature.
      The decision of the Supreme Court is final, and there is no further provision of appeal to it.

  1. 10. Even so, a criticism is heard, as in the U.S., that judges are reading their personal ideologies and philosophies into the fundamental rights and that it is becoming an uncontrollable exercise. Comment

    1. Judiciary is invested with a power to interpret the Constitution, someone has to be entrusted to be decisive enough to conclude the disputes. Though this gives the judges a power to not only decide on the basis of constitution, but also to amend it as they can turn down an amendment made by the legislature or suggest changes to it.

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