8th March, 2010
You are all aware that there is a pal of gloom in the corridors of High Court of Karnataka. There is virtually no life, forget about any lively action taking place and even our routine tea meetings and weekly meetings over lunch have all come to a grinding halt and it is as though we have become strangers in our own high court!
We are all aware that the present stalemate is due to the fact that the Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka is facing a motion to impeach him, in the wake of requisite number of members of Rajya Sabha having tabled a motion for such purpose and they in turn having taken such an action bona fide believing that the chief justice has committed misconduct, in turn is based on certain representations made by senior members of the Madras Bar, and voiced through, some very respected senior advocates practising before the Supreme Court, and which had attracted the attention of the media and was and is subject matter of raging debate over the conduct and misconduct of judges, the available means and mechanism for taking action against errant judges, the manner of functioning of collegium mechanism, particularly, the collegium of the Supreme Court having come in for very adverse criticism not only from members of public but also from enlightened, elite sections of legal community, including the former chief justices and judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts and of course the very serious adverse opinions expressed by the learned and respected senior members of the Bar, of professors and academicians, of high attainment and of public and social personalities of great repute and the like, and the many editorials written in leading News dailies and other periodicals.
While it is rather unfortunate that the collegium of the Supreme Court has been blissfully insensitive to such humongous concerned, agitated public opinion, image of the judiciary has taken a thorough drubbing in the process, and the reputation of courts and judges has reached its nadir and the judges are no more looked upon as a respected class of people in the society!
Alas! What a fall! I feel it is our sworn duty to take steps and measures not only to ensure that we perform and function in accordance with the oath we have taken at the time of assuming the office of the judge of the high court, but also to ensure that the image, reputation and the public confidence in our institution is maintained at a very high level and at all times we inspire public confidence and remain an object for realizing their hopes and aspirations.
In the present scenario and in the wake of the developments as indicated above, I am of the earnest, confirmed opinion that the present Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka Justice P D Dinakaran, exercising administrative functions even while not performing on the judicial side, is a most unhealthy development, which could not only further undermine the reputation of our high court but also cause grave distrust amongst the litigant community, in the manner of functioning of the high court and with the Chief Justice of the High Court heading the collegium entrusted with the responsibility of selecting and recommending suitable persons for being appointed as judges, the functioning of the collegium itself will be viewed with suspicion and there will be a question mark even on the persons whose names, such a collegium recommends. This is not at all a healthy augury either to the institution or to the judges in the high court [present and intended].
In the wake of these developments, I have written a letter to the Chief Justice of our High Court, requesting him to refrain from exercising even administrative functions when he is not discharging the judicial responsibilities and I have enclosed a copy of the same, for your perusal.
In the wake of the concern and regret expressed by some of our colleagues about our having stopped all interactions amongst ourselves, during tea meetings and the weekend lunch meetings, having come to a standstill and most of our colleagues having felt that it is high time we resume such interactions and having expressed a strong desire for resumption of normal activities in our high court, I would suggest, we all meet informally over a tea session at 5.00 pm on Wednesday, the 10th of March, 2010 at the Conference Hall of the High Court at Bangalore and also seriously discuss about the current developments and the possible course of action that we are required to take, if we have to remain true judges of this court and to discharge truly the duties and responsibilities that we have undertaken to perform in accordance with the oath that we have subscribed to at the time of entering office as a judge of this court.
On this occasion, I would like to share some of my views, which I had occasion to express myself at a function held in Mysore recently i.e. on 27-2-2010, on the occasion of the release of second edition of the book – Constitution of India – in Kannada written by a law teacher Tumkur Yedeyurappa, a lecturer in law at the Law College, Sagar, and being published by Prof Venkatagiri Gowda Samskruthika and Shaikshanika Parishath, Mysore and the release function being organized jointly by the said Parishath and The Institute of Development Studies, Manasagangothri of the Mysore University.
I am enclosing herewith a copy of my speech in Kannada delivered on this occasion of the release of the book, for your perusal.
Looking forward to meet you all on Wednesday evening.
Non availability/non-participation, may kindly be informed to the Registrar General, so that he can make proper arrangements.
Hon’ble Mr Justice
Judge, High Court of Karnataka
Copy to the Registrar General, High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore to ensure that necessary arrangements are made to procure snacks and coffee, [from MTR] and the expenses bill handed over to me for payment.