KOCHI: In a damning indictment of the justice delivery system in the country, senior Supreme Court counsel Indira Jaising on Sunday said there has been an erosion of faith in the judiciary and as a lawyer she didn’t feel confident justice will indeed be dispensed while arguing court cases.Addressing ‘The Hot Seat’, a programme organised by the All India Professional Congress (AIPC) here, Jaising said the Hindutva debate which poisoned the debate in the country had led to the poison seeping inside the court.
“I think there is such polarisation in the country the entire poison has entered the court. I have never seen it before.
Earlier, whatever was happening took place outside the court; inside the court we did not have any problem, even with our rivals,” she said, responding to questions by AIPC president Mathew Kuzhalnadan on the topic ‘Judiciary: The Vanguard of Democracy?’
On the issue of impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India(CJI) Deepak Mishra, Jaising said the Vice-President is not vested with the powers to reject the motion since it is the privilege of the House. “The privilege of the Constitution vests this power only with the House,” she said.
Citing an instance in which an impeachment motion was passed against a sitting judge in 2015 for alleged sexual harassment of a former Additional District and Sessions Judge, Jaising said the Vice-President had admitted the motion after checking with each of the signatories whether it is indeed their signature. She termed the rejection of the impeachment motion by the Vice-President ‘unconstitutional’ and said it is ‘likely to be challenged’.
Regarding the case pertaining to the death of Judge Loya, where the Supreme Court dismissed the petitions seeking an investigation into the death, Jaising said the apex court was not equipped to find the cause of the death. Stating she is personally appearing in the case and hence her comments may be biased, Jaising said her plea is the circumstances leading to Loya’s death are suspicious. “Only a medical professional can ascertain the real cause of the death,” she said.
Commenting on the Centre’s move to reject the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court, Jaising said the government was ‘cherry picking’. The reasons are pretty obvious, she said, referring to Justice Joseph’s decision which thwarted the Centre’s move to impose President’s Rule in the state.
While the Centre has appointed senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the apex court on the basis of the collegium’s recommendation, it had rejected Justice Joseph’s name. The constitution of the judiciary should indeed reflect the constitution of the country. In this case, CJI Mishra told Jaising she was opposing a woman’s elevation, to which she responded” “We want both gender and justice”.