Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary; Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
1) In recent times, despite its judicial pronouncements in cases such as the entry of women into Sabarimala and Triple Talaq, the Supreme Court has not exactly covered itself with glory in cases of women on its own administrative side. Critically analyse with suitable examples. (250 words)
Why this question:
The transfer of Chief Justice Vijaya K. Tahilramani from the Madras High Court to Meghalaya is shocking and disconcerting. She had presided over a court of 75 judges and administered a subordinate judiciary in 32 districts in addition to the Union Territory of Pondicherry. In contrast, the Meghalaya High Court has only three judges and a subordinate judiciary in just seven districts.
Key demand of the question:
Discuss the recent incidence of transfer of female judge and her resignation against the transfer made by the collegium.
Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.
Structure of the answer:
In brief discuss the context of the question.
Explain Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over transfer of judge, what are the provisions and how is it done?
Discuss what can be done – explain that the Supreme Court cannot function as a sentinel of justice unless it puts its own house in order. Its functions, both judicial and administrative, have to be transparent and accountable. The collegium is not a creation of the Constitution, but of the court itself.
Yet, when the collegium’s decisions are called into question for having been influenced by extraneous considerations, there is no institutional check.
Conclude that any arbitrary transfer by the Supreme Court collegium reduces the High Court judges to a subordinate status. Further, the collegium system, by its opacity, has failed to build a fearless and strong judiciary and serve the public interest.