Superior Judiciary Should Reflect Cooperative Federalism: Stalin
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India NV Ramana to ensure that the judiciary also reflects the spirit of cooperative federalism enshrined in our Constitution.
Stalin, in a letter to Modi and Ramana, stated some important aspects relating to the upper judiciary – such as the creation of regional benches of the supreme court, judicial diversity and proportional representation of states in the judicial bench and the use of the Tamil as official language of Madras High Court – needs to be tackled early.
Referring to the appointments of High Court and Supreme Court judges, Stalin said they should reflect India’s diverse and pluralistic society.
“In recent years we have seen a decline in the representation of all sections of society in the senior judiciary, leading to a ‘diversity deficit’,” Stalin said.
“A large and heterogeneous group of judges representing various sections of society as a whole can alone reflect the views and values of society as a whole, especially on matters involving historical, traditional, linguistic and cultural issues” , did he declare.
According to Stalin, all states must find proportional representation on the bench of the Supreme Court.
The Chief Minister said the establishment of permanent regional benches of the Supreme Court is another issue that would reflect the federal character of India.
“Considering that the Supreme Court is located in New Delhi (which is not equidistant from all parts of the country) and is far from many states, especially the South, South West and the East, the citizens of these states are deprived of their basic right to address the Court,” Stalin said.
“Although there are 25 High Courts across the country, it appears from the data that the number of appeals filed in the Supreme Court originate more from states in the NCR region than from states further from Delhi” , added Stalin.
He said the Constituent Assembly debates show that even the framers of the Constitution as early as 1950 recognized that the Supreme Court would need to have branches in other parts of the country as the nation grew. This is why, in its article 130, the Constitution allows the Court to sit in other places of the country.
“Therefore, I request you to take appropriate measures to establish permanent regional benches of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, apart from the Constitution bench in New Delhi, so that citizens of other parts of this vast country have equal access to the Supreme Court,” Stalin said.
Recalling Ramana’s words “legal proceedings cannot be like chanting mantras in a marriage that no one understands” at a ceremony held here, Stalin said that making law and justice comprehensible to the common man in its procedures is essential in the justice delivery system.
“In four High Courts – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Hindi has been allowed as an official language in addition to English. So one wonders what is the obstacle in making the official language of others States the official language of the High Court, in addition to English?” said Stalin.
He requested the Prime Minister and the CJI to take appropriate measures to declare Tamil, the official language of the government of Tamil Nadu, as the official language of the Madras High Court of Justice and its seat in Madurai, in addition to the ‘English.