NEW DELHI: Stressing the need of striking a balance between judiciary and executive, former President Pranab Mukherjee has stated in his memoir, ‘The Presidential Years’, that proper coordination between the two stakeholders will avoid judicial activism.
“In our democratic concept, I feel that judges, especially of the higher judiciary, do not generally interact with other stakeholders. A certain distance has to be maintained, given the judiciary’s role in adjudicating various actions of the executive,” he wrote.
“However, there should be more frequent interactions between the executive and the judiciary. If the CJI were to meet the PM more regularly, and similarly the Chief Justice of high courts were to interact with the respective CMs more often, a number of vexatious issues could be resolved, and the balance that is needed to be maintained between them can be achieved.” Mukherjee said that as President, he made attempts to interact with the judges.
“I would invite them over for tea and photo sessions. Unfortunately, there were not enough occasions to meet them otherwise. I would see them on formal occasions, including the swearing-in ceremony of the CJI.”
The book also talks about the issue of vacancies in judiciary. Mukherjee stressed on strengthening the judicial infrastructure so that justice delivery system could be made more efficient.
“A lot can be said about delays in the justice delivery system but the courts, too, work under many constraints. There are not enough courtrooms and judges. The judicial infrastructure needs major expansion, which in turn requires funds. The expenditure on the judiciary comes under non-plan expenditure, and there have not been enough funds to spend in revamping the judicial infrastructure.”
The primary responsibility of filling these vacancies lies with the collegium.
“Inordinate delays in the appointment of judges also deny opportunities to the deserving. A judge who is appointed after his junior and thus takes oath later goes up the seniority ladder, which could adversely affect his chances of promotion…It is the responsibility of both the collegium and the government to avoid such fallacies,” he wrote.