A few recent orders by the Supreme Court and some High Courts are worrisome. The one by the Delhi High Court on Silly Souls Café and Bar is a matter of concern. Did that Judge overstep her domain?
The Constitution of India is very clear on the distinct roles of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. It envisages a free, fair and independent Judiciary. The highest standards of judicial independence must be ensured by warding off even the faintest trace of governmental influence on the judiciary.
With the sanctity of the other pillars of our democracy currently severely dented, our only hope is the Judiciary but with the government wanting to overpower the Judiciary too, there is a very disturbing disquiet over the slippery slope on which judicial values are slithering. The highest standards of judicial independence must be ensured as the judiciary, is the very last hope for the common man.
An effective judiciary guarantees fairness in judicial processes and transparency. The Public must be confident that the judiciary is beyond reproach. Transparency is a fundamental component of judicial independence. Any direct or indirect interference by the politicians in the selection, appointment and elevation of Judges is a threat to the very Independence of the Judiciary. If the Judiciary is reduced to being a mouthpiece of the government, the Courts will lose relevance. The Judiciary should never be manned by persons who are tilted or aligned to any political party. Judges should have the spine to crack on illegalities done by all politicians, regardless of how high positions they hold. It has to be ensured that judicial accountability is maintained at all times with every Judge conforming to the highest standards of uprightness and integrity. If Judges cannot independently balance the scales of Justice, the Temples of Justice become pointless.
Andrew Jackson, the late American President believed that all the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous judiciary.