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P M Ravindran

'Aathira', Sivapuri, Kalpathy-678003


Tele: 0491-2576042; E-mail: raviforjustice@gmail.com

File: Pers/jud-to cji-sharing concerns-010518 01 May 2018

Dear Mr Dipak Misra,

This is an effort to share the concerns of a citizen who shall never tire of fighting for
justice.

To begin with I must hold the judiciary responsible for the ultimate failure of law and
order in the society. Long before Adv Prashant Bhushan said that not even 1% get
justice in present system
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udJjDwGDREA&feature=youtu.be) or Asian
Human Rights Commission slammed India’s Scofflaw Officialdom by asking (19 Oct
2012) 'Why should a criminal be afraid of the crime being detected, investigated, and
prosecuted in a country where the entire justice apparatus has fallen? ' I had heard
elders claim that it was a blessing in this country to live without entering a police
station or court. And as one who has been seriously observinging the performance of
the judiciary for the last 20 plus years I have no doubt that if this country is ever
driven to a civil war like situation it will be entirely due to the failure of the justice
delivery system headed by the judiciary.

The failures of the judiciary are on very many counts. The problems start with the
very nature of discretion given to judges in ruling on cases. In every case before a
judge there are two parties each presenting some fact, some laws and some
precedences and the judge is placed in such a position that he can as well toss a coin
and decide whom to favour with his judgment. Thereafter the only thing he has to do
is to pick up the relavent facts, law and precedences from those before him, put
together his conclusions and add to it his decision! The provisions for punishment for
contempt of court in the Constitution and the laws made there under have made our
judges living examples of the truism 'absolute power corrupts absolutely'. While I
maintain that this is one law that is required only for ensuring compliance with
judgments the unfortunate fact is that that is the only reason for which it is hardly
used whereas it is most lavishly used in suppressing criticism about judges.

With that as a prelude I must come to the current situation that has necessitated this
communication.
The ultimate nail has been dug on the coffin of judicial credibility and integrity with
the four judges headed by Jasti Chelameswar casting aspersions on none other than
the Chief Justice of this country himself. Through these aspersions they have
primarily questioned even the competence of the Chief Justice to allot cases and also
attributed baseless motives to him! I am familiar with terms like bench hunting and
uncle judges prevalent in judiciary but this is the first time I have come across a
clamour from judges wanting to chose the cases they would like to deal with! That
they have been allowed to get away with such malicious allegations is certainly a
serious failure on your part. For my part I had posted an online petition addressed to
the President of India and the Prime Minister to impeach the four judges. It is
available at https://www.change.org/p/the-president-of-india-and-the-prime-
minister-judges-revolt-contempt-of-court/ It was posted on 11/02/2018 and by
28/02/2018 over 200 citizens had supported it. It was communicated to the PM
through a tweet on 21/02/2018.

But what I saw there after was even more shocking- the opposition moving for your
impeachment! Personally I believe that you were not their target but the Prime
Minister himself. And not that they themself seemed to believe in their action. It was
almost like the proverbial dogs barking at a caravan moving by!

The other issue that is currently agitating citizens interested in justice and judiciary is
the issue of appointment of K M Joseph as a judge of the supreme court. While the
constitution and functioning of the collegium is itself questionable, but given the fact
that it is a reality, the question that arises is how the ten judges who are chief
justices of various high courts and senior ot K M Joseph have been superceded by the
collegium while making the initial recommendation. While the judiciary can be often
heard harping on transparency in the dealings of the executive there is no doubt that
there is hardly any transparency in its own functioning, the collegium being the
worst. However since the matter is now in public domain, we, the People, do have a
right to know the facts leading to this large scale supercession. The only earlier case
that is in public domain is of the supercession of 3 judges of the apex court itself in
the matter of the appointment of the then CJI, post Indira Gandhi's conviction that
led to clamping of an uncalled for Emergency on the nation itself!

The third concern that I would like to share with you is regarding the cost of
pursuing justice, on account of delays and preposterous fees charged by advocates.
From media reports I understand that the Executive is on the job of compiling
information on fees prescribed and those charged by advocates. I can only hope that
something postive will come out of it. But regarding delays I am afraid even the
Executive will only leave it to the mercy of the judges. Though most of the laws
prescribe time limits and number of adjournments that can be granted you can't
deny that they are followed mostly in their breaches. Even the Consumer Protection
Act mandates that a consumer dispute be disposed off within 3 months. In one
particular case, OP 282/1999 of District Consumer disputes Redressal Forum,
Palakkad (OP No 85/1995 transferred from Malappuram), the opposite party had
produced interim stay order on 28/10/99 and the stay was vacated only on
8/6/2005 but through out this period the case was listed 58 times and adjourned! It
was finally posted for orders on 6/7/07 but was opened for re-hearing suo moto on
15/2/08 and went on an adjournment spree from 3/3/08 to 31/5/2010. It was
adjourned 17 times, including 5 times for want of members/President and 10 times
for orders only! It was dismissed when an application was submitted under the RTI
Act to find out the status! When a quasi judicial organisation can do such
preposterous things I loath to imagine what could be the state of affairs in the
judiciary. But one thing has to be acknowledged that the judiciary by itself is not seen
doing anything to reduce the delays, whether it is cutting down on holidays
prevailing from colonial days or speeding up trails by refusing unwarranted
adjournments or punishing public servants who indulge in unwarranted litigation at
the cost of the public exchequer!

I do not know what all and how much you can do to salvage the credibility and
integrity of the judiciary. But the least you can and should do before you demit office
is to ensure that the four judges who have thrown muck at you, and there by on the
institution of judiciary itself, are punished at least as severely as C S Karnan, former
judge of the Kolkata High Court, though his crime pales into insignificance compared
to what these four judges have done in a deliberate and conspirational manner.

Yours truly,

P M Ravindran

Sri Dipak Misra, CJI


Supreme Court of India
New Delhi