Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Delhi High Court chief justice who allowed RTI on Supreme court is not elevated to SC

Chief justice Ajit Prakash Shah of Delhi High court retired recently, and there is news that he did not get elevation to Supreme Court even though the file was sent by government to collegium for a second time.

New Delhi: Chief justice Ajit Prakash Shah of the Delhi high court, who scripted landmark judgments legalising homosexuality and bringing the office of the chief justice of India within the ambit of the Right to Information Act, today said he was "hurt" at being bypassed for elevation to the Supreme Court.

"I cannot pretend that I am not hurt," justice Shah said during an interaction with reporters on his last working day. "A sense of hurt is always there. These things happen in life."

It will be good if now some progress can be made on bringing transparency in appointment of judges.  Although judges do not speak a lot to the media, the very fact that a retiring judge expresses his personal disappointment means that all is not well in judicial appointments.

The Supreme Court collegium bypassed justice Shah, one of the most senior high court chief justices, for elevation while recommending to the Centre names of other judges who were junior to him in October 2008.

The government refused to accept the collegium's decision and returned the file. But it had to accept the recommendation when the collegium refused to give in.

It is high time that this football mechanism of appointments file being going back and forth between collegium and government is replaced by something more transparent.

Further, justice Shah does not think too much about corruption in higher judiciary.  We disagree!  Read here about Prashant Bhushan of CJAR stating about corrupt justices in SC.

With regard to the charge of corruption in the judiciary, justice Shah said there is corruption but it is minimal at the higher level. "I will not be telling you the truth if I say no corruption is there in the judiciary. It is a reality, corruption does exist, but minimal corruption is there in the higher judiciary."

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