Non listing of WP nos.1005 of 2022 and 320 of 2023 which my humble self and others have filed seeking the abolition of the collegium and the senior designation system, two systems which we consider most pernicious and which stand as a bottleneck in the reformation of our justice delivery system

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Mathews J Nedumpara
Advocate
21.07.2023

To,

*Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud*,
Chief Justice of India.

May it please your Lordship,

*Sub: Non listing of WP nos.1005 of 2022 and 320 of 2023 which my humble self and others have filed seeking the abolition of the collegium and the senior designation system, two systems which we consider most pernicious and which stand as a bottleneck in the reformation of our justice delivery system*

I address your Lordship with a great amount of anguish which no words can adequately explain. This letter being addressed to the Chief Justice of India, I am dutybound to express my anguish, pain and even disappointment in the most decorous language.

“The sun, moon and the truth can never be hidden”. The fact that the higher judiciary in India is exclusive forte of a few dynasties of lawyers and judges and those politically well connected, the elite, is undeniable. The only way to change the scenario is to do way with the two pernicious systems. Any amount of politically correct words, nay, exhortations that the senior lawyers shall pay junior lawyers a certain way, the Court seemingly reaching out to help the junior section of the bar, the undertrials and other poor litigants, will have very little on the reformation of the justice delivery system. I say so while being an admirer of your Lordship’s many liberal and progressive views. My pain and anguish is that when compared to the enormity of the problem, pious thoughts and appealing words alone will have no greater effect that of a soothing touch. Many former CJIs did not publicly express their concern for the less privileged. I am gratified that your Lordship expresses it so vocally.

Though when it comes to the denial of justice to the weakest sections of society, for instance the slumdwellers of Bombay, in very many areas, we have divergent views. In many areas our thought process is one and the same, I say so being fully conscious of my insignificance.

I am fully conscious that reforms are not possible overnight and that time can be conquered by time alone. But to do away with the collegium, where the entire power of appointment is vested in the senior judges of the Supreme Court, so too, abolition of the designation system which so nakedly discriminates lawyers, classifies them into two categories and which has resulted in the total subjugation of the bar, can literally be done overnight.

The two pernicious systems mentioned above lead to the subjugation of the bar because in the current scenario, a lawyer has no existence, much less professional prospects, unless he is either designated or elevated. Both of which are in the hands of the judges. This reduces lawyers in their mid 30s and 40s a sycophant, totally subservient. It is said that designation is an honour and nothing could be more laughable than to make one apply for an honour, so too, lobbying and networking for it.

I have mentioned these petitions many times over the last 6-8 months. Your Lordship was gracious enough to grant listing of the case. However, the directions to do so said in the open court has not been translated into reality till date. In the case of the writ petition regarding senior designation, your Lordship was pleased to state in the open court that the matter will be listed before a special bench. All this happened before the closing of the court for summer vacation. After the reopening, we tried to find out when the cases are likely to be listed. What I am made to understand is that there is no direction to the registry/department concerned. This leaves me with no option than to trouble your Lordship with a letter like the instant one, though with great amount of hesitation.

Awaiting action at the hands of your Lordship’s gracious self, I remain.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Mathews J. Nedumpara

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