M A I N   N E W S

Bill to tackle corruption in judiciary in the offing
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 23
New laws and new systems are being developed to make the judiciary more transparent, ensure that people with dubious backgrounds do not get in and to reduce the time in administering justice, says Union Minister of Law and Justice, Veerappa Moily.

He also ruled out the possibility of the Government of India becoming a party to any appeal against the controversial Ayodhya verdict. The Centre, he pointed out, was not a party to the hearing conducted by the Allahabad High Court. Hence, the Union Government would rather wait for the Supreme Court to adjudicate on the volatile issue.

Moily, who was speaking to the Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Raj Chengappa (for complete interview, turn to page 12), said it was not for him to say whether the verdict was right or wrong. But the general perception certainly is, he admitted, that the Allahabad High Court had based its verdict “more on faith than on evidence on the record” and that “there is no indication that there was ever a temple.”

In the freewheeling interview, Moily pointed out that the Ayodhya verdict did not amount to pardoning the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid. “It cannot be treated as regularisation of the demolition. The demolition is a separate issue and the cases against Mr (LK) Advani and others are still pending. So this verdict cannot be linked up to that,” he said.

Moily gave candid replies to questions on a wide range of issues, including some which are highly controversial and engaging the attention of the nation. These included the political and Constitutional crisis in the BJP-ruled Karnataka, appointment of judges, caste census, khap panchayat, terrorism and the delay in hanging terrorist Afzal Guru, the main accused in the Parliament attack case.

On Karnataka, he said the BS Yeddyurappa government would fall if the HC held the disqualifications as illegal and even if the Speaker’s decision is upheld, the question still remained whether the government “can continue” in view of reports of horse trading.There was no proposal to change the present “time-tested practice” of appointing Chief Justices of HCs from outside the respective states, he informed.

Stating that the government is engaged in evolving a system to ensure that appointment of judges becomes more transparent, the Law Minister spoke of the steps being taken to reduce the number of pending cases, 87 per cent of them in the subordinate courts. 

Responding to a query on Khap Panchayats, he said these “are not illegal. But at the same time, the provoking for this kind of murder is illegal and crime.” At the same time, Khaps could not be given legal status. “Under law, we cannot give it legitimacy.”

Defending the government’s decision to go for caste census, he said “caste is no doubt a cancer…but we need to see the micro aspect of this sociology and we need to have this statistics as a basic requirement. Otherwise, we are just building castles in the air, not on the basic statistics. I think by ordering the caste census we are getting into the basic of the societal picture.”

Moily’s take on

Ayodhya: Union government has no plan to file caveat

Karnataka: BJP govt has no right to continue even if HC upholds disqualifications

Judges’ Appointment: Review of Collegium system under consideration

HC CJs: No proposal to consider Judges from same states

Khap Panchayats: Not illegal, but honour killings are a crime

Caste Census: Census will cure caste-cancer

Afzal Guru: Hanging is always slow





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