Thank you so much for your kind letter and the good wishes for my humble effort. Judicial reform is nearly impossible without the actual participation and initiative of the members of Parliament. The perception of the general public is that most of our political leaders are corrupt or incompetent. I certainly do not subscribe to that view. I have been campaigning that to demonize the political executive and political leaders is doing great disservice to the idea of democracy. The decision of the Parliament, as the great philosopher, Sir Thomas Smith, has said in the 16th century, is the decision of the entire polity, and every citizen from the highest to the lowest is deemed to be present in the Parliament. With the judiciary taking on the province of the Parliament and the Executive in the name of “PIL”, the institution of Parliament is becoming more and more irrelevant and is being substituted by an elite class, dynasties of lawyers and judges, bringing back the old feudal system. Through PIL a great deal of good, atleast seemingly, has been done by the Courts and PIL, something which is wholly illegitimate, has received a great amount of legitimacy which it does not deserve.
The institution of judiciary is in shambles. Except an elite few, it serves none. Unless Articles 32, 226 and 141 which are grossly abused, are repealed and the pristine glory of the ordinary civil court is restored, there is no future for the India judiciary. It is extremely difficult to convince the common people of the irreparable damage which these constitutional provisions have caused, because these articles have been glorified beyond words.
If India is to remain as a democracy, we need a judiciary which is confined to its legitimate role of resolution of disputes between parties, and not legislation and governance. The Parliament needs to function like the Courts, atleast 200 days, otherwise, all matters which fall in the legitimate province of the Parliament, will continue to be hijacked by the Courts, which in the long run will further destroy and utility of the institution of the judiciary itself.
The few simple steps i suggest are:
a) abolition of the collegium and appointment of judges through open selection, like in any other public service
b) video recording of court proceedings and access of such records to the litigants
c) bringing an end to the over reliance on case law. We have 25 HCs, large number of tribunals and the SC. All its judgements are misunderstood to be the “law of the land” and not mere precedent. There is no area, except PIL, which is not codified into statute. The statutes itself constitute a fairly huge volume. We have over 20lakh reported cases, and all such judgements are law, which would mean our law, running into millions of pages. If law is to be found in millions of pages, then no law exists.
d) abolition of tribunals, except those which are of a technical nature, because (i) it leads to multiplicity of proceedings (ii) leads to corruption
e) transfer of judges
f) abolition of senior designation system because the current arbitrary and opaque system has led to the denial of justice to ordinary litigants and discrimination to lawyers and litigants, both.
I believe nothing is possible without the active support and participation of the members of Parliament, and i believe if your kind self could extend some support in enabling me to meet the members of Parliament, many of whom i am sure will be interested in the emergent steps needed to prevent the absolute takeover and replacement of the Parliament by the judiciary.
I await to hearing from you.
With kind regards,
Mathews J Nedumpara
- September 29, 2023