Justice Kurian Joseph during a press conference in New Delhi on Jan 12, 2018.

Perception That Judiciary Not Working Independently Led To The Rare Press Meet, Says Justice Joseph

Justice Kurian Joseph, who recently retired from the Supreme Court, said a perception that the judiciary wasn’t functioning independently was one of the reasons that prompted the Jan. 12 press conference by four senior-most serving judges to go public about their differences with the then chief justice of India.

“I went to the press conference for my conscience. There was a perception that the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court and its captain (former Chief Justice Dipak Misra) was not functioning independently,” Justice Joseph said at an event in Delhi organised by the Leaflet on Dec. 7. “Some of the other judges apart from us four also shared the perception.”

Justice Joseph, along with Justice Ranjan Gogoi, now chief justice of India, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Jasti Chelameswar (retired), held a rare press conference to publicly raise alleged selective allocation of matters and the delay in finalising the process that guides the appointment and transfer of high court and Supreme Court judges, among other things.

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The perception was that things were not in the right direction, and one such issue was the allocation of certain cases to select specific benches, Justice Joseph said. And he is not aware why the Memorandum of Procedure for appointments by the collegium hasn’t been finalised.

Justice Joseph favours increasing the retirement age of the judges to 70 years. “You want a retired Supreme Court judge to man certain institutions. Why not increase the age of retirement? Take it to 70 years,” he said. “If the National Human Rights Commission can be manned by a judge of the age of 70, why can’t he be a judge? And make these posts interchangeable.”

Watch the entire conversation with Justice Joseph here: