Tuesday 16 September 2014

Appointing Scheduled Castes/Tribes as High Court Judges

When I was in the collegium of the Allahabad High Court in 2003, the then Chief Minister of U.P. Ms. Mayawati wanted a scheduled caste District Judge to be elevated as a High Court Judge.

I checked up about that District Judge and learnt that he was corrupt. So I called the then Advocate General of U.P., and told him to tell the Chief Minister that I was in favour of appointing more Schedued Caste persons  as High Court Judges, since the Scheduled Castes had been historically and socially oppressed for thousands of years, and needed upliftment. Even now most non-scheduled caste people look down on them as inferiors.

 However, I added , the person to be appointed should be totally upright, as appointing a corrupt High Court Judge would not only defame the judiciary and harm the public, it would also defame the entire Scheduled Caste community, and give a handle to many non-scheduled caste persons to say that all scheduled caste persons are corrupt ( which is untrue, as there are honest and corrupt persons in all castes and communities, and I know many scheduled caste persons who are totally honest and upright ). So I told the Advocate General to request the Chief Minister not to press for elevation of that corrupt District Judge, and to her credit I must say that she did not do so..

 I told the Advocate General that if he could suggest to me a young scheduled caste lawyer, if not in the High Court, then even in a district court who had a high reputation of integrity I would get him recommended for appointment as a Judge in the High Court. However, before getting him recommended I would make my own enquiries to make doubly sure that the person was honest. He may not be an outstanding lawyer in the High Court or a District Court, and even a lawyer with average knowledge of law would do, but there must not be any compromise on integrity.


  1. Its very disturbing to read about corruption in judiciary. Not because corruption in judiciary is not expected but because we don't seem to have a mechanism to cull corruption.

    Sir, when you found the said judge to be corrupt why did you let him continue.

  2. Mr Katju,although you must reply to Mr Sahni's posure that you should not have let the corrupt judge continue but I. myself being a retired Govt officer understand your helplessness in absence of proper documentation about that judge's corrupt activities . You must write a comprehensive. Blog about the limitations in respect of taking action against a corrupt person and about the very limited situation in which a superior can initiate action against a corrupt junior without severely hampering discharge of his main duty i.e to serve the people as mandated by Law . I will like to know your reaction on my mail in case you don't intend to write a blog I'm this regard soon.

  3. 80% marks to you on this one.
    Remaining 20% are deducted because you appear to have done nothing to remove the corrupt judge from the system.