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Judges and Politics UPSC NOTE

 Is there a cooling-off period for judges to prevent post-retirement job?

  • A member of the Constituent Assembly, K.T. Shah, had suggested that judges of constitutional courts should be legally barred from occupying executive posts. 

  • But the Constituent Assembly did not find favour with this

  • Implementing external rules to control the judicial behaviour of judges would be antithetical to the idea of judicial independence

  • This is why India has not legislated over the judicial conduct of judges of constitutional courts.

  • Acceptance of judgeship is often an act of sacrifice for lawyers as it involves loss of freedom

  • Restraint becomes the norm, which also reduces the space for personal aspirations

  • Yet, a judge of the constitutional court gets powers and privileges which others do not enjoy.

  • According to Article 217 read with Article 124(4) of the Constitution, the only way to remove a judge is the almost unworkable method of impeachment by Parliament

  • Article 215 declares the High Court to be a court of record with contempt power which the judges could invoke

Importance of judicial conduct

  • Paragraph VIII of the Third Schedule of the Constitution demands a judge-designate to swear inter alia that he will perform his duties without fear or favour, affection or ill-will

  • The Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct (2002) gained international acceptance as indicated by the Judicial Integrity Group

  • The declaration enlists certain judicial values including independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety, equality, competence and diligence.

  • It emphasises the need to eradicate bias or prejudice in the decision-making process

  • It asks judges to ensure that their conduct both in and out of the court maintains and enhances the confidence of the public, the legal profession, and litigants in the impartiality of the judge and of the judiciary

  • Clause 2.4 of the declaration is against the judge making comments “that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome of (a case). 

  • It says that the judge shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any proceedings in which the judge is unable to decide the matter impartially. 

  • The Code also says, A judge shall conduct himself or herself in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.

  • The U.S judge, Simon Rifkind, remarked that the courtroom, sooner or later, becomes the image of the judge and that it will rise or fall to the level of the presiding judge. 

  • The Supreme Court in C. Ravichandran Iyer v. Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee (1995) said, To keep the stream of justice clean and pure, the Judge must be endowed with sterling character, impeccable integrity and upright behaviour”. In All India Judges’ Association v. Union of India (1991), the court spoke of “society’s expectation from judicial officers”.

  • There have been similar instances in the past

  • In 1967, Chief Justice Koka Subba Rao resigned to contest the presidential elections, and in 1983, the Supreme Court judge Baharul Islam resigned to get elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha. 

  • But past aberrations do not justify present wrongs. 

  • They are no longer good precedents or practices given the globally accepted principles of the Bangalore Declaration, which were made later.

Article 217 of Indian Constitution

  • Article 217 of the Indian Constitution deals with the appointment and conditions of service for Judges in a High Court. 

Here's a breakdown of the key points:

Appointment:

  • The President of India appoints every High Court Judge through a warrant under their hand and seal.

Consultation process:

  1. Chief Justice of India (CJI)

  2. Governor of the State where the appointment is being made

  3. Chief Justice of the High Court (except for appointing the Chief Justice itself)

Eligibility:

  • A person must be:

    1. A citizen of India.

    2. Have held a judicial office in India for at least 10 years.

  • OR

    1. Been an advocate of a High Court (or multiple High Courts) for at least 10 years.

Article 124(4) of Indian Constitution

  • Article 124(4) of the Indian Constitution specifically addresses the removal process for a Supreme Court Judge. 

  • Protection for Judges: A Supreme Court Judge cannot be removed from their position solely by the President's order.

  • Rigorous Procedure: A stringent process ensures a judge's removal only under exceptional circumstances.

Article 215 of Indian constitution

  • Article 215 of the Indian Constitution addresses the status and powers of High Courts in the Indian judicial system

Key Point:

Declares High Courts as Courts of Record: This empowers them with specific advantages:

  • Maintain formal records of their proceedings: These records are considered authentic evidence in courts.

  • Possess certain inherent powers: These include the power to:

    • Punish for contempt of court: This safeguards the court's dignity and authority.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Judges and Politics UPSC NOTE
Judges and Politics UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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