Showing posts from June, 2015

Why Justice Swatanter Kumar is like Mandrake The Magician

Justice (Retd) Swatanter Kumar is like MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN – amazing wizardry, plus massive legal muscle acting like bouncers to protect him from media glare.

On 10 January 2014, former Supreme Court Judge Swatanter Kumar was named by the media as accused of sexually exploiting a law intern. The intern, with the help of senior counsel Harish Salve and Indira Jaising, and advocate Vrinda Grover, filed a PIL on 14 January. The prayer: Supreme Court must reconsider its policy of not inquiring into the allegations against judges.

With lightning speed, WITHIN SIX DAYS, Delhi high court passed a temporary order in the Rs 5 crore defamation suit (CS(OS) 102/2014) slapped by Swatanter Kumar against Indian Express, Times Now and CNN-IBN (and, for good measure, the anonymous intern, the Indian Express reporter and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting). The order restrained the media from publishing or telecasting the allegations levelled on Swatanter Kumar, or even using his photos. Afte…

Former NRI pans Hyundai, writes Open Letter to Transport Minister Gadkari

26 June, 2015, Mangalore: Nestle's Maggie Noodles isn't the only dangerous goods in the Indian market. Have you noticed that Hyundai cars catch fire ever so often – whether on the road or in parking? Is our government neglecting to safeguard the lives of Indian vehicle-owners by pampering multinational companies? Why is the Transport Commissioner of each state passing such cars – proven dangerous on Indian roads -- to be sold to unwary customers?
In a scathing open letter to Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari sent on Monday, Mr Prakash Rao (98452 13305,, former managing director of Bhutan-based Tashi Group, says, "Recall of goods due to manufacturing defects is unheard of in India. Multinationals like Hyundai Motor India Ltd. are knowingly selling faulty products to Indian customers, putting our lives at risk. They believe that the Indian government does not take action to protect its citizens – and earlier governments have p…

If Supreme Court judges wore burqas as advised...

“MY LORDS SHOULD WEAR A BURQA and roam in the court corridors to hear the way lawyers talk about the judges of this court. You will get first-hand account of the rotting justice delivery system. The kind of lawyers who are being appointed as judges is a disgrace,” senior advocate Dushyant Dave, arguing for the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), told a Constitution Bench led by Justice J S Khehar.

“It is a shame how every court is going an extra mile to protect politicians and film stars, and ordinary citizens are deprived of justice,” he added. Read

Warm Regards,

How bad can Collegium's selection criteria be? Justice Joseph is a sample

Judges selected by the collegium for higher judiciary are sometimes worse than useless, according to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi. Rohatgi gave the instance of Justice Cyriac Joseph. As a judge of Delhi High Court, Justice Joseph performed miserably. He reserved more than 100 judgments and went out on being transferred without delivering the judgments, so that all the cases had to be reheard. Later, as Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Cyriac Joseph delivered 162 judgments of which 89 "cannot be even called orders as they did not decide rights of the parties. These are merely stating that the petition has become infructuous or allowing the petition to be withdrawn. Of the 162, only two could be called judgments... But both these were authored by the other judge who was part of the bench," the AG said. Justice Cyriac Joseph was very successful at climbing the career ladder. Only one month after being appointed as permanent judge of Kerala High Court in July 1994, he was…

Judicial Appointments: JAC will help Govt arm-twist the collegium judges

It is a lie that Government currently has no say in appointing judges, and therefore Judicial Appointments Commission Act is required for giving government a say. The fact is that government has been continually influencing the appointment of judges by the Collegium from the back door. Recommendations to the collegium are made through the back door by big-ticket lawyers who have access, like Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibal and Arun Jaitley. These are the middlemen or puppet masters who make judicial appointments happen, by trading favours (land allotments, post-retirement appointments etc) with collegium judges. They are king-makers or "judge-makers" who approach the collegium on behalf of government, powerful business lobbies and political parties, to promote their favourite candidates.

The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) will only enable the government to have additional control over judicial appointments -- some extra bargaining leverage to make the collegium judges bend …

Katju's Challenge: Impeach Dattu or Jail me for Contempt

In the face of continuous provocation by Markandeya Katju, why is Chief Justice Dattu silent and passive? if there is no substance in the retired SC judge's allegations, why isn't any action being taken against him? Why no Contempt of Court so far?

Through his blog,, Katju has been continually baiting Dattu, the establishment and also mainstream journalists for not investigating the issue based on his documents.

It is easy to write this off as Katju's attention-seeking behaviour. But let us look deeper. His allegations are that the Chief Justice of India is a blatantly corrupt man who has amassed wealth by currying favour with the government, and by breaking laws. Can we as a nation afford to take such allegations lightly?

If these allegations are true, impeach the Chief Justice of India. And if they are frivolous and unsubstantiated, then haul Katju (along with other critics like myself) over the coals. Let justice be seen to be done!


Plenty of jail before getting bail is normal in India

While Salman Khan secured bail in barely three hours after his conviction, over 60% of undertrials spend more than three months in jail before they can secure release. The prolonged incarceration is due to their inability to get bail. Government data shows that roughly 1.75 lakh of 2.78 lakh people facing criminal charges are unable to secure bail before three months. Over 40% (1.1 lakh) of undertrials take more than six months to secure bail, over 64,000 spend more than one year in jail before they are released on bail, while over 30,000 spend more than two years in jail.
And further to this, thousands of convicts are detained months or even years AFTER COMPLETION OF THEIR SENTENCES due to non-payment of fines. These are inmates who remain in jail even after completion of their jail sentences because they are unable to pay the fine amount! At the end of 2013, there were 3000 such prisoners. Of these, 1375 prisoners, or 45.2% had been in jail less than six months after completion of …

Thousands of Indian convicts are too poor to pay fines, hence jailed indefinitely

Thousands of convicts are detained for months or even years AFTER COMPLETION OF THEIR SENTENCES due to non-payment of fines. What right to Life & Liberty are we talking about? The common man has no real right to life and liberty! That's right, there are thousands of inmates who remain in jail even after completion of their jail sentences because they are unable to pay the fine amount! At the end of 2013, there were 3000 such prisoners. Of these, 1375 prisoners, or 45.2% had been in jail less than six months after completion of their sentences. On the other extreme, 240 were still languishing in jail for more than five years after their jail sentences had ended.
(Thank you TOI for in-depth coverage of this issue.)

The poor rot in jail, as judiciary is partial to the rich while granting bail.

Although bail was a right of every individual, it was largely available only to the rich", says Colin Gonsalves of Human Rights Law Network. "When it comes to rich people, the court has double standards. Rich even get anticipatory bail. Salman's case is a shocking case of miscarriage of justice and consideration based on class. First, it's a fit case where he should have got 10 years in jail. Two, why should his bail plea be heard expeditiously when there are hundreds such applications pending in the high courts. Why should he be allowed to jump queue? It sets a bad precedent," he told TOI.

But that's not the only problem. Courts have also been terribly slow in disposing of cases (Salman's itself took over 12 years). Courts have 84.8% pendency in criminal cases while on an average over 60% cases take more than a year for trial to be completed. As many as 41,670 cases take more than 10 years while 1.7 lakh cases take between five to 10 years for the trial …

Is Justice Kshitij Vyas a bit too friendly with Mukesh Ambani?

Are judges unduly friendly with big corporates? Last year, Reliance wrote in a letter to former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court KR Vyas: “I am pleased to inform you that your consultancy is further extended for one year i.e. upto April 30, 2015.” The letter reveals that Justice Kshitij Vyas was receiving hefty amounts from Reliance as consultancy. Several other retired Judges who were approached by Dhirubhai’s successors had refused to be on company’s pay roll.
Justice Kshitij R Vyas, formerly Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, was reportedly close to Mukesh Ambani and also the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi. On recommendations of Modi, Justice Vyas was appointed as the Chairman of the monitoring authority overseeing fake encounters in Gujarat. However in a setback to Modi, Supreme Court removed Justice Vyas from the chair -- a rare snub by the apex court to a former CJ.

Justice Vyas was caught in a web of controversy when his name was rejected by Congress for being …

Is Supreme Court a PART-TIME GUARDIAN of our fundamental rights?

Individuals can go on as many leaves as they like, including study leave, casual leave and sick-leave for much more than six months... but can the ENTIRE ORGAN OF GOVERNANCE remain closed for weeks or months? (And please, don't anybody mention vacation judges, who provide only a loincloth of judicial service!)
Evidently, it can! And according to our hon'ble judges, India is hale and hearty despite such institutionalized mass-bunking.

So, let the whole country follow the noble example of our judges, and accordingly, let the government sanction SIX WEEK SUMMER VACATIONS FOR:

1) Police

2) Central & State Government, including Prime Minister, Chief Minister, entire cabinet and entire secretariat.

3) Entire Army, Navy, Air Force and Border Security Force. Let them coordinate the dates to match with summer vacations for the armed forces of Pakistan, China and Bangladesh across the borders.

No surprise invasions and terrorist attacks when we are on vacation, boys. "Time-pleas…

Chief Justice of India -- just a mouse on the treadmill?

The present judicial system has long-term failure written into its DNA. It seems to throw up only short-sighted pygmies as Chief Justice of India -- men who don't feel sufficiently responsible and empowered to change the system. And so our Chief Justices just hold hearings and routinely plod along till they retire. Their only aspiration is to get a prestigious post-retirement government naurkri. This is a key reason for the continuous decline in our judiciary's performance. Chief Justices are not supposed to be pen-pushers. They are supposed to have a GRAND VISION of justice, the BIG PICTURE of the entire judicial system. Theirs is one of the most powerful jobs in the country. They are given the responsibility and independence to correct the bad practices of the past, to ensure that justice reaches the common man. The role of CJI is envisaged as not only a highly capable administrator of the entire judicial system, but also a visionary, leader and system-reformer.
All these p…