CJI takes initiative to clinch stables of lower judiciary

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan has appealed to Chief Justices of all high courts to take appropriate steps to weed out judges of subordinate courts who are found ''indolent, infirm or with doubtful integrity, reputation and utility''.

The CJI, in his letter written yesterday, has requested all the Chief Justices to carry out periodical review of the performances of all the judges in subordinate judiciary who are under administrative control of their respective high courts when they attain the age of 50, 55 and 58.

According to the letter, such judges should retire from the service as per rule 56(j) of fundamental rules, which empower an appropriate authority to retire any government servant, if in its opinion it is in public interest to do so and the officer has attained the age of 50 years if he had entered the service before the age of 35 years, or has attained the age of 55 years in other cases.

Justice Balakrishnan said, ''The basic objective behind this provision is to retire those who are found to be unfit, incompetent, ineffective or with doubtful integrity. Pre-mature retirement, as you know is not a stigma and no civil consequences will follow such retirement.'' The letter of the CJI also said this periodical review would be in addition to the assessment being carried out at the age of 58 years in terms of the directions of the court in the All India Judges Association case. The service rules could be suitably amended to provide for such assessment.

''If implemented in right earnest such a provision will keep deviant behaviour in check, besides getting rid of those who are found to be indolent, ineffective or with doubtful integrity,'' the letter said.

The Chief Justice also requested the high courts' Chief Justices to keep him informed of the decision taken by their high courts in the matter.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier told the judiciary to go in for ''self-introspection'' in view of increasing instances of corruption even in the higher echelons of the judiciary.

Thirty-six judges including one sitting Supreme Court judge, 11 Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Court Judges and 24 District Court judges are facing investigation in Rs 7 crore Ghaziabad District Court GPF scam while two sitting judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court are under the CBI scanner in cash-at-judges-door scam.

Justice Balakrishnan also wrote to the Prime Minister for impeachment of sitting Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen, who is facing allegation of misappropriation of Rs 32 lakh when he was a receiver in a dispute between SAIL versus Shipping Corporation of India in 1993.


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