Jethmalani moots Judicial panel for appointment of judges
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 02, 2010, 23:08
Mumbai: Former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani today sought setting up of a Judicial Commission for appointment of Judges in the higher judiciary to put an end to the menace of corruption in the system.

He said the Commission should appoint judges and the existing system of appointment by the President on the recommendation of collegium of judges should be done away with.

Elaborating on the structure of the Commission, he said it should comprise representatives of judiciary- the Chief Justice himself or a person recommended by him. It should also have a representative from the government and the Leader of the Opposition as well, Jethmalani, a Rajya Sabha member, said at a meet-the-press programme organised by Press Club, Mumbai.

"The Bar should also be represented in the Commission", he said adding eminent people from the world of academics and social sciences should necessarily be a part of such a structure.

"Even if it may be a contempt of court, I would dare to say that some of the Supreme Court judgements are unreadable. Thirty years ago, Magistrates in Mumbai used to write better judgements", Jethmalani said.

After independence, the President, in consultation with the Chief Justice, used to name judges. "During the period of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, this system worked beautifully", he said adding thereafter "executive held the predominant voice" and it appeared that the executive has interest in appointing corrupt judges.

After 1996, when the system of collegium came into existence, things became "chaotic. Every member of the collegium has a friend or relative to be pushed".

On the current controversy over the Bhopal gas leak case, Jethmalani alleged an "unholy deal" led to the whittling down of the damage liability of the Union Carbide from USD 3.3 billion to a meagre USD 470 million.

He demanded the Centre disclose the names of those behind the alleged deal.

"Who had settled the original suit claim of US dollars 3.3 billion for a meagre amount of US dollar 470 million in the Bhopal gas tragedy case. It is just one-seventh of the amount claimed," he said.

Jethmalani said no one had yet denied that according to the Union Carbide they have paid more money under the table outside the settlement.

On the unrest in Kashmir, the noted jurist suggested hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani should be arrested and kept in a jail far away from Srinagar.

Jethmalani said as long as the separatist leader was free, Kashmir would not be safe.

"He knows perfectly well that in dispersing crowds, some stray bullet is likely to cause injury or even death. He is an intentional abettor of murder. The policeman is a bad shot but he does not deliberately kill a young man."

"I am receiving phone calls daily from respectable Kashmiri Muslims in Srinagar that this man and his Murids (followers) need to be urgently immobilized," he said.

Jethmalani alleged Geelani has ruined Kashmir?s trade, industry and income from tourism and exports. "Schools have shut down and students are migrating to other cities in India, mind you, not to Pakistan or even POK. We must offer autonomy to Kashmir in all its regions as much as Pakistan is willing to give to POK", Jethmalani said.


First Published: Thursday, September 02, 2010, 23:08

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