Open Letter to Ms. Jaising – – senior gown – hypocrisy

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Dear Ms. Indira Jaising,

Sub: Abolition of senior designation- reg.

When it comes to transparency and reforms in judiciary, there are certain areas where we are in agreement, though there are serious differences in many other areas. On the topic of abolition of senior designation I was under impression that we agreed and on the question of abolition of the collegium we are poles apart. While you support the system of entitlement, patronage, nepotism, dynasty, of which the collegium has become a synonym, I believe that until we abolish the collegium, the culture of entitlement and kinship will continue, our judiciary has no future.

Recently, while I was in the Supreme Court a few lawyers told me that Ms. Jaising is being hypocritical that she’s back to wearing the square gown. I did not believe this to be true at all. Like the doubting Thomas, I said I will not believe unless I see it for myself. A day thereafter, I happened to come across, to my total disbelief, you wearing a square gown. I couldn’t resist myself from confronting you. I asked you point blank ‘Madam, after denouncing the senior gown in the public domain so vocally how can you go back to quietly wearing it’. You were visibly taken aback. I told you honestly that when lawyers had told me that you had started wearing the square gown again after all that noise, I said would not believe it unless I see it with my own eyes. I am reminded of the words of Christ, “you hyprocite, first take out the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”. The explanation you offered, flimsy as could be, was that your gown was missing. Arranging a gown is hardly a task. I could have only wished that you had a better answer, though I doubt anything would be an acceptable one.

What prompted me to address this letter is the news I came across on social media that you have addressed to the Chief Justice Bombay High Court a letter, speaking on behalf of the underprivileged, minorities and women, that the requirement of the Bombay High court Rules on senior designation that an applicant for designation shall be supported by recommendation by two senior advocates “would create hurdles in female lawyers and minorities being designated” and be dispensed with.

Dear Ms. Jaising, could anything be more hypocritical than your hollow concern for women, minorities and the underprivileged. If you are truly concerned about the underprivileged, then you must support the abolition of the senior designation system which has caused unthinkable damage to the interests of the underprivileged, women and minorities.

When we got independence there was no system of senior designation. It all came much later. If you are really concerned about the “old boys club” and the unthinkable damage it has caused to the justice delivery system, you must support us in our cause for total abolition, which will be the first step in bringing a semblance of fairness and equity in the temples of justice. It will be the first step in correcting the damage caused to the institution of judiciary due to nepotism, favouritism, kinship and subjugation of the bar. It will bring an end to the apartheid in the legal profession.

Dear Ms. Jaising, the senior designation system can make even “seniors” like you a slave as we recently witnessed in Oza’s case (Gujarat).

I remain in the unstinted hope that you will introspect and realise that you cannot be supporting the designation system and in the same breath be blind to the ill treatment of lawyers and litigants facilitated by the senior designation system and speak against discrimination and injustice.

With kind regards,
Yours Sincerely.
Mathews J Nedumpara

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