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An open letter to the Prime Minister of India for judicial reform

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The Hon’ble Prime Minister Of India Sri Narendra Modi ji
Subject- Government role in creating accountability and transparency within judiciary

Respected Sir,

I want to draw your kind attention towards the legislation passed by our parliament in the year 1985, The Judges Protection Act 1985 which is reproduced herein below.

THE JUDGES (PROTECTION) ACT, 1985 ACT NO. 59 OF 1985 [6th September, 1985.]

An Act for securing additional protection for Judges and others acting Judicially and for matters connected therewith. Be it enacted by Parliament in the thirty-sixth year of the Republic of India as follows:

1. Short title and extent.—(1) This Act may be called the Judges (Protection) Act, 1985. (2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

2. Definition.—In this Act, “Judge” means not only every person who is officially designated as a Judge, but also every person— (a) who is empowered by law to give in any legal proceeding a definitive judgment, or a judgment which, if not appealed against, would be definitive, or a judgment which, if confirmed by some other authority, would be definitive; or (b) who is one of a body of persons which body of persons is empowered by law to give such a judgment as is referred to in clause (a).

3. Additional protection to Judges.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force and subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), no court shall entertain or continue any civil or criminal proceeding against any person who is or was a Judge for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by him when, or in the course of, acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official or judicial duty or function.

(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall debar or affect in any manner the power of the Central Government or the State Government or the Supreme Court of India or any High Court or any other authority under any law for the time being in force to take such action (whether by way of civil, criminal, or departmental proceedings or otherwise) against any person who is or was a Judge.

4. Saving.—The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, the provisions of any other law for the time being in force providing for protection of Judges.

This act though takes away power of general public to file civil or criminal case against the judges but beside Supreme Court and high court section 3 of the above act gives power to the central government and the state government either to constitute an authority to take such action by way of civil criminal or departmental proceeding or otherwise against any person who is or was a judge, or by themselves file suit against the judges

I am a civil lawyer practicing at district judgeship Jhansi Uttar Pradesh and I know some main problem which our judiciary is facing and nobody likes to talk about, especially in government circles. Since weightage of judiciary contribution is low in India’s ranking in “Ease of doing business”; to eradicate this problem government is implementing judicial reforms for this purpose only i.e. in terms of infrastructure like creating more courts of different nature and computerisation, as guided by the Judiciary itself which has taken whole charge of judicial reforms in its hand and is easily able to turn the table on government for the need of more infrastructure and citing burden on court and giving examples of western countries ratio in respect of number of their legislation, number of judges with population and no. of courts.

Judiciary very smartly keeps the main problem at bay since they themselves are the cause of that problem which is making judiciary incompetent, corrupt and inefficient day by day, the main cause of degradation of our judiciary is it has never been taken care of by the Judiciary itself.

I am talking of transparency and accountability of judges in conducting their work. For, very surprisingly there is no legislation, rules etc through which complaint against lower judiciary can be dealt with by applying some defined rules or procedure. Even government is clueless as to how to deal with such complains.

In the name of undue pressure judiciary cannot be left open unaccountable as the legislative intent of 1985 act clearly provide option: If the Judiciary has not made transparent rules or public’s complaint disposal mechanism is weak and judiciary is deteriorating for this very reason, government must step in to frame necessary rules and create proper competent and effective authority which is not only well within its jurisdiction but also its democratic obligation. Because government is also accountable to general public which may suffer due to unaccountable corrupt inefficient judiciary.

It is very troubling to note that Supreme Court and high courts’s official websites do not have any provision to file an online complaint against the judges. So when the digital record is not available it can’t analysed as to which type of and how many complaints from different areas are coming, hence any remedial measures cannot be taken.

If government is frightened of courts, media and liberal intellectual or their ecosystem and is unable to create authority for inquiry of judges at least it should provide a forum where public can post their judicial complaints, relevant document. Government should create body for educational research purpose that is to say to study the nature of grievances of general public and assess the actual problem. By this, government will be in a position to talk to Judiciary with sufficient data and discuss them with remedial measures

Psychologically by entertaining so much worthless Public Interest Litigation, Judiciary is able to successfully exert pressure on government and divert the focus from their incompetence because Public Interest Litigation give them undue popularity and hide their incompetence and shortcomings especially at the lower Judiciary level.

So I request Prime Minister to look into the above legislative Act and constitute authority to create transparency and accountability in judicial functioning public has fundamental rights of getting rightful justicein transperent manner.

Yours faithfully

Rajeev Gupta

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