The Union government seems to have come out with the upper hand in its tussle with the judiciary over appointment of judges, and the embarrassment that the Justice CS Karnan case had caused to the apex court in the recent past possibly acted as the detonator to the gun powder keg.
The judiciary had been standing firm in its rejection of the NJAC (National Judicial Appointments Commission) Act as “unconstitutional and void“, meaning to keep the executive at arm’s length while selecting their kin. Eighteen months later, Justice Karnan’s odd behavior and consequential and unprecedented jailing of the high court judge on contempt charges has shed a poor light on the way judges have been selected so far. That is the Supreme Court’s Collegium, the sanctity of which has been safeguarded with care by the apex court so far.
The detailed judgment in the Karnan case, as uploaded on the Supreme Court website Wednesday (July 5) states the overall picture. However, more important would be the observation that it was necessary to “(1) revisit the process of selection and appointment of judges to the constitutional courts, for that matter any member of the judiciary at all levels; and (2) the need to set up appropriate legal regime to deal with situations where the conduct of a judge of a constitutional court requires corrective measures other than impeachment—to be taken.”
Read the full judgment here.
—India Legal Bureau