Unpleasant spectacle: On A.P. CM’s complaint against Supreme Court judge

The tussle between State govt. and High Court in A.P. should not be allowed to escalate

The conflict is based on mutual accusations that the High Court is hostile to the State government, and that the latter is abetting a political campaign against the judges. It is disturbing enough that some judicial orders are seen in a political light, or lend themselves to such an interpretation. It becomes quite ominous if these charges give rise to open threats and abuse. The government has sought to ease the situation by offering no objection to the CBI inquiry. It is presumably waiting for the outcome of the CM’s unusual missive to the CJI, who in turn faces a dilemma as he cannot be seen as either ignoring a written complaint from an elected leader or giving undue credence to charges from a disgruntled litigant. The problem is that allegations of possible judicial bias, which are difficult to establish, are combined with those of misconduct, a serious charge. The right thing would probably be for the CJI to order an inquiry into the letter in accordance with the apex court’s internal procedure. Regardless of what happens, it may end the recriminations. India can ill-afford a public perception that judges have strong political loyalties. For, that will undermine faith in an independent judiciary.

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