K'taka Judge Slams SC Collegium for Being 'Secretive'

K'taka Judge Slams SC Collegium for Being 'Secretive'
Taking a swipe at the Supreme Court Collegium, Karnataka High Court Judge D V Shylendra Kumar, known for his outspoken comments on judiciary, has questioned its manner of functioning accusing it of being "secretive" in the selection of judges and "blissfully remaining insensitive to public opinion".

In sharp comments, the judge said the manner of functioning of the collegium has drawn flak from all sections of society and was a "matter of shame" with members of the public looking at such conduct with suspicion.

Justice Kumar had shot into limelight after he took on Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan last year amid a raging controversy over the issue of judges making their assets public.

Subsequently, airing his views regularly on his blog, Justice Kumar has been persistently attacking Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran over his continuing to discharge administrative functions while being away from the Bench in the wake of the land grabbing controversy surrounding him.

"The manner of functioning of the collegium of the Supreme Court of India has drawn flak from all sections of society and it is a matter of utmost concern and even a matter of shame for the members of the judiciary...," he said.

The collegium was not only "blissfully remaining insensitive" to public opinion/reaction, but also playing "GOD by not responding", he said in his latest posting on his blog.

Justice Kumar also spoke of a "possible cover up" by the collegium by declining to give out information on selection of judges.

"The collegium of the Supreme Court refusing to divulge information has not been taken kindly by the members of the public and this conduct and attitude is looked down with suspicion and as a possible cover up resorted to on the part of the members of the collegium," he said.

He said it was high time that the collegium realised "this harsh reality" and started acting in the interest of the institution and not that of individual judges, or to protect their image and reputation and try to hide or cover up the bad image or the bad reputation of "errant judges".

The collegium had put on hold the elevation of Justice Dinakaran to the Supreme Court while impeachments proceedings have been initiated in Rajya Sabha against him.

Justice Kumar said in a democracy, "there cannot be any insensitivity or evasion from accountability on the part of the persons in authority and control, who govern our society under the scheme of the Constitution."

"It is very essential and also the constitutional duty for the Judiciary to fulfil this expectations of the people and perform in a proper manner," he said.

The collegium has invited very adverse criticism from all sections of society, "more so from the legal community," he said. "Laymen on the street, or elite and enlightened in their palaces, have all been critical of the manner functioning of the collegiums in general and collegium of the Supreme Court in particular," the judge said.

Justice Kumar said courts and judges could not remain insulated from public opinion or discard public needs and demands.
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