‘Appointment of judges lacks transparency’

Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah on Saturday said the current appointment system of judges lacks supervision.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2010, 16:15 PM IST

Panaji: Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah on Saturday said the current
appointment system of judges lacks supervision and suffers from "democratic deficit.

"The way in which judges are appointed embody a set of
values about democracy. Our current appointment system is out of step with democratic culture primarily because it lacks transparency and provides for no oversight," Shah said.

He was speaking in a seminar on `Strengthening Democracy: Role of Judiciary,` held here.

The former judge, who gave the verdict decriminalizing gay sex, said, "choosing judges based on undisclosed criterion in largely unknown circumstances, reflect an increasing democratic deficit.
"It is here that we can learn from systems elsewhere which have managed to provide for a transparent process of appointment, while maintaining judicial independence," Shah said, adding, the international consensus seems to favour appointments to the higher judiciary through an independent commission.

He said there should be growing consensus to promote conscious efforts and bring more diversity on the bench.

"There are less than five per cent of the female judges on various benches. This amounts to mockery of equal
rights and gender justice," he said, adding, the judiciary
which does not make up of the society from which it is drawn will sooner or later lose the confidence of that society.
The former Chief Justice, who also served the Madras
High Court, said the demands for change to existing systems in the judiciary must be met rationally.

PTI