February 6, 2012


Why is the Judiciary kept Indepen­dent of the Control of Executive and Legislature?

The Supreme Court and the High Courts administer justice not only between citizen and citizen but also between 'State' and a 'Citizen'. Judges independence is essential for the functioning of a democratic Constitution. An independent judiciary is said to be the first condition of liberty. The independence of the Judges of the Supreme Court is ensured by the following provisions:

1.        Appointment of Judges: In appointing the Judges the President shall consult the Chief Justice of India. The Chief Justice should take into account the views of four of his senior most colleagues. Thus, neither the Executive (Ministry of Law and Justice) nor the Chief Justice of India acting on his own can have full control over Judges' appointment. In other words, "neither political bias nor personal favoritism" would play any part in the appointment of Judges. It has enhanced independence of the judiciary.

2.    Security of Tenure: A Judge can remain in office till he has attained the age of 65 years. He can be removed by the President on the ground of "proved misbehaviour or incapacity" on an Address of each House of Parliament. The word 'proved' is very significant. It means that an Address can only be presented after an allegation has been thoroughly examined by some impartial tribunal.

3.   Salaries, etc. are Charged on the Consolidated Fund of India: Judges' salaries, allowances, etc. shall not be varied to their disadvantage during their term of office. Moreover, they are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and are not subject to Vote of Parliament. The salaries of the Judges cannot be reduced except during periods of Financial Emergency.

4.     No Discussion with respect to the Conduct of any Judge: No discussion shall take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any Judge in the discharge of his duties, except when a motion for his removal is under consideration. The conduct of a Judge cannot ordinarily be a subject-matter of discussion inside legislature.

5.     Punishment for the Contempt of Court: Genuine criticism of a Judgment is allowed, but nothing should be done to lower the authority or dignity of the Court. The Supreme Court has the power to punish for contempt of itself.

6.      Prohibition of Practice after Retirement: A retired judge of the Supreme Court cannot plead any case in any court or tribunal in India, This ensures that the judges, while making decisions, would not be unduly influenced by their former colleagues or superiors.


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