The task before the selection committee was to examine the suitability of Alok Verma to continue as the CBI Director. And, one critical ingredient that just had to form part of its decision was the say of the CBI Director himself. It was impermissible in law for the selection committee to dispense with the say of the CBI Director, in the familiar facts of this case.
Despite our experience with sensitive cases relating to custodial deaths, encounter and riot cases, atrocities committed by police officers and sometimes, the majority community, we were ill-prepared for the blatant and unprecedented hostility we faced in this particular matter. We were intimidated within court premises, but could not seek any recourse for the same. We had strong reason to believe that our client, Rubabuddin, was compelled to make certain decisions for the case under duress.
The purchase of the 36 aircraft was a unilateral decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that the decision was taken without even consulting with the then Defence Minister of the country — Manohar Parrikar. That exactly is the violation. Did the Court forget to ask the Government to submit the process followed for the procurement of 36 aircraft? If so, on what confidence and based on what evidence did the Court stat in Para 22 that “Broadly, the processes have been followed”?
2018 has showcased the inconsistency with which the Supreme Court chooses to interfere in the policy decisions or to monitor investigations, especially pertaining to the ruling regime. As the year comes to an end, it is hoped that the judiciary will be more consistent in its decision-making, decry the use of ‘sealed cover’ in adjudication, and stand up to the Executive bullying, whether in judicial appointments or in administration.
Unlike what the Central Government hopes to secure with its application, the Rafale judgment now stands vitiated by reason of what is said in para 25; it is one of the critical pillars supporting the judgment. Therefore, the outcome of the judgment can no longer be the same should para 25 lose those critical conclusions of “facts” that never took place. Hence, the Court will have to summarily remove its own judgment and rehear the issue.
On behalf of The Leaflet, Prashant Padmanabhan, Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court of India, spoke to Justice Kurian Joseph (Retd) on December 4, 2018 for an in-depth peak into the recently retired Supreme Court judge’s mind and heart, as well as his inspirations while deliberating on major court cases and delivering landmark judgments. Justice Kurian Joseph, who has been known as an upright and compassionate judge, retired as a Supreme Court judge on November 29, 2018.
In Chapter 15 of their newly released book ‘Loose Pages: Court Cases that Could Have Shaken India’, authors Sourya Majumder and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta explore the quagmire of the cases heard by benches featuring Justice Arun Kumar Mishra of the Supreme Court, especially the Sahara-Birla papers case, in which Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was an alleged recipient of the company’s largesse of Rs 10 crore.
The Karnataka High Court example amply demonstrates that the new process of senior designation gives confidence to the young lawyers without ‘connections’ in the legal profession. It gives them hope that if they are deserving, no one can take away their opportunity to be one day considered for the senior designation. Conferral of this distinction has been duly democratised.
This nomination took place at a time when Justice Goel still had a week to demit his office as a judge of the Supreme Court. The letter written by the then CJI Misra to the Union Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, also reveals that Justice Goel had verbally conveyed to the then CJI, his willingness to accept the post-retirement assignment.
Why is it so important for you to know your judges before they are appointed? The IB has no mandate to check for predatory behaviour of the Supreme Court nominee towards women and such behaviour can pass through the net very easily. This would be the contribution of the #MeToo movement to accountability in the judiciary.
Despite several serious pitfalls in the 45th CJI’s tenure, CJI Misra’s contribution to gender justice cannot be overstated. His sincerity in granting urgent hearings in cases of torture, violence against women and lynch-mob incidences has been par excellence. He was a humane judge, with great tolerance who never resorted to contempt jurisdiction despite all kinds of insinuations, allegations, and barrage of criticism traded against him. He has an eminently unforgettable term on which history will shine a kind light with the healing distance of time.