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Checking graft in judiciary

I read Dr Virendra Kumar’s article, “Making judges accountable (Sunday Oped, Jan 2). The perception “once a judge, always a judge” needs to be changed. The judiciary in the country today has come to enjoy enormous powers. In a democracy every wing of the Constitution – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary – is answerable to the people for all its acts. In fact, the judiciary is the main pillar that protects and defends the Constitution. The judiciary has so far failed to come with a system to check the conduct of its own members. The new legislation is likely to fill up this gap.

The Centre’s decision to bring the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill to repeal the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, and provide for the constitution of a National Judicial Oversight Council to inquire into the complaints against the errant judges is being perceived as a long awaited initiative to make judges accountable.

With the enactment of this legislation, it will put a full stop on questions like can a citizen of India not criticise the Supreme Court’s decisions?; can a citizen not criticise the procedures and management of the court?; is the court not supposed to be accountable?; and how can it be made accountable if it were made absolutely immune from public criticism? The three points imperative for strengthening the judicial independence are, one, the declaration of assets and liabilities and any subsequent change beyond the prescribed limits must be with the permission of the Chief Justice of India. Two, accountability should be measured without any intervention of any office. And third, the judge must show impartiality through his judgements.

However, attempts to check judicial corruption will weaken the rule of law if the judiciary comes under the control of the legislative branch. The challenge before the government is to eradicate judicial corruption without intruding on the independence of judiciary. Judges should have certain virtues and be of right character which will benefit the judiciary.

No doubt, the judiciary is the sentinel of the Constitution. At the same time, there is a need to appoint judges of highest integrity. Examples like the UK Supreme Court calling for applications for judges’ post through newspaper advertisements need to be replicated in India to restore the people’s confidence in the judiciary.n

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur

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Voting rights for NRIs: A political gimmick 

I read Anil Malhotra’s article, Voting rights for NRIs: An optical illusion (Perspective, Jan 2). I am afraid, this is a political gimmick to grab votes. There are some NRIs who are very rich and have political aspirations to try their luck at home. They are the ones who want voting rights.

A common man is not interested in such voting rights. He is also not interested in various names like NRI, OIC, PIO etc. The Centre is simply squeezing money by granting such names for purposes of travel, etc.

The requirement of a common Indian settled in any foreign country is to have dual citizenship so that he and his children could move freely in his adopted country and back in India. The children born to NRIs should be permitted to compete for any government services and select any profession in India.

I do not understand why the Government of India is not granting dual citizenship to NRIs. In India, when children grow and leave their home state to settle in another state to make a living, nothing prevents them to travel for work or study in the states where they were born and brought up.

While considering dual citizenship, the security aspect should be debated and loopholes plugged. Though the voting rights are meaningless, we should honour them when approved by Parliament which is a symbol of democracy.

BRIJRAJ, Grenville Drive, Mississauga (Canada)



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