New Delhi: AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding an end to the practice of post-retirement jobs for judges as it affects judicial neutrality. He cited specific instances of judgments influenced by outgoing Supreme Court and High Courts judges.
“In recent years, the Indian Judiciary has been found grappling with several issues, prominent ones being its fight for autonomy and its perceived lack of credibility,” Singh wrote in his letter on Friday.
Informing the media about the letter, he said several incidents suggest that the power to announce judgements has been greatly influenced by vested interests operating outside of courts.
“This has raised questions in the minds of people. The fact that post retirement judges are offered offices of profit under the government has seriously compromised the independence of judiciary.”
Singh cited the example of Justice Adarsh Goyal, who was appointed Chairman of the National Green Tribunal and named several other judges and their post retirement postings to bolster his point.
“Former Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam who granted bail to Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah was immediately appointed the Governor of Kerala,” he said.
“Similarly, Supreme Court Judge A.K. Sikri, who retires in the first week of March, was nominated to the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal. As the issue started to snowball into a controversy, the judge declined the offer. It is important to note that in December 2018, he had accepted the same offer.”
The AAP MP also said that there have been reports that Sikri would soon be appointed as the Lokpal.
“If this happens, then the credibility of the Supreme Court would be further eroded as Sikri had recently voted with the Government to oust CBI director Alok Verma.
“Furthermore, several questions have been raised on Sikri’s judgement pertaining to the Delhi government vs. Central government case related to the Services Department. Making him the Lokpal would automatically indicate that he is being rewarded for his judgements.”
Concluding his letter, the legislator requested Modi to ensure that a neutral and unbiased individual is appointed to the important post of Lokpal.
“This would ensure that no questions are raised on the credibility of the Lokpal and he/she is able to smoothly discharge the constitutional duties.”
Singh said there should be an end to the postings of judges.
“Although this is not a new practice, it raises questions on the credibility of the judiciary. This should be ended.”