Monday 8 July 2024



One can continue to write about judicial perfidies till cows come home but it will be only repeating the same narratives with change in the names of the characters. The plot cannot change. It will remain the denial of justice by those who are tasked, empowered and paid to provide it. So, while the critiques can and will continue, there is a need to come to terms with the fact that one has only one life to live. Hence there is this need to wind up this series with a quick recap of the defects/deficiencies that have been brought out so far. And that should lead us to the solutions, implicitly or, if need be, explicitly.

We are already familiar with these fundamentals of jurisprudence:

Ø  Justice delayed is justice denied

Ø  Justice should not only be done but seen to be done

Ø  Not a single innocent person shall be punished even if a hundred criminals are allowed to go free and

Ø  Capital punishment shall be awarded in the rarest of rare cases.

But there are two even more fundamental principles that are not often spoken about:

Ø  Your liberty ends where my nose begins and

Ø  Justice implies two aspects: punishing the guilty and compensating the victim.


My first experience with a court of law was neither as a complainant nor as a respondent to a complaint. It was merely for a court of wards permission to mortgage an ancestral plot of land on which I was constructing a house. But at the end of 4 years when I withdrew the application, the lessons I carried home were of the incompetence and arrogance of the judge and the lack of professionalism and servility of the advocate. My subsequent experiences with the judiciary have taught me that it is the judges who have made it so.


Then I got stuck with a consumer complaint where I had got a favorable verdict from the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (as it was then, now it is also a Commission). The opposite party had taken up the matter with the appellate body, the State Commission quoting a preposterous judgment of the Kerala High Court in  Jancy Joseph Vs Union of India (1999 (1) KLT 422). There a single judge had ruled that women could not be arrested in cases involving recovery of money. This was a gender based discrimination and against the Constitution. It was done by applying Section 56 of the Civil Procedure Code (of 1908 vintage) to Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. But he had aggravated the discrimination by ruling that others (read, men) could be arrested even if they had no means to pay, which was against the provision of the same Section 56 of the CPC.


Since I was now a victim of this totally unjudicious verdict, I had to pursue another case in the High Court of Kerala, questioning the decision in Jancy Joseph. It took the High Court a year and half to dismiss this petition with a curt 2 sentence verdict: ‘This matter had been decided in Petition Number xxxx/yyyy and held against the appellant. Hence this petition is dismissed.’ My advocate while providing me copy of the order did not provide me the copy of the order quoted therein. The court had refused to provide a copy of the same even under the Right to Information Act, saying that it is part of judicial proceedings and cannot be provided as per the High Court’s RTI Rules. Some justice and transparency there!


The appeals and revision petitions by the opposite party in the State Commission were also dismissed and after reverting to the District Forum the verdict was again given in my favor but with much reduced refund of cost and compensation without any valid reason. The total litigation lasted 11 years and it had cost me 4 times more than what I had lost as per my complaint.


Later, I came to know that a division bench of the same court in Mary Chacko vs Jancy Joseph (2005 (3) KLT 925), in the context of application of the same Section 56 of the CPC to SARFAESI Act had taken a different stand and ordered that women can be arrested because 'there is a clear basis for treating the public dues different from the purely private'.


Since then I have been left wondering under which law it is permitted to cheat ordinary citizens of justice.


Meanwhile, in 2002, in an article - ‘Democracy? East is East and West is West…’- I first wrote about the need to have rule of law instead of rule of judges. The article is available at Much water has flown down our rivers but the need for a total overhaul of our judiciary has only got reinforced and reached a stage where citizens have begun to perceive the judiciary as a threat to rule of law and democracy. 


My letter to the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court on 18 Nov 2004 had dealt with the following issues afflicting the judiciary: contempt of court (anathema in a democracy), judicial accountability and the need for a National Judicial Commission to try judges (for all omissions and commissions under laws applicable to all citizens), judicial accessibility, judicial process, listing of cases, personal appearance of litigants and representatives, involvement of advocates, citizens’ charter and working hours, grading of advocates and norms for fees and irrationality and unfairness of decisions. The contents of the letter are available at


This was followed by a one man satyagraha in front of the High Court which was disrupted by the police on the direction of the concerned official of the court. Some respect for freedom of expression which is tom-tommed by our judges who have flip-flopped even in the context of bandhs/hartals which have been bringing normal life to a standstill. Once it was rightly held that they are illegal because it affected the fundamental rights of other citizens but they retracted later.  Even thereafter a judge made road side meetings illegal leading to a politician rightly calling him a dimwit. And for this comment he was punished for contempt of court with imprisonment for six months.


On 31 May 2005 an online petition was initiated addressed to the President and Prime Minister of India to constitute a National Judicial Commission to try and punish judges as per laws applicable to ordinary citizens but with twice the severity in punishment. This petition was posted at which is now defunct. However, copy of the petition and the list, including the comments, of 429 citizens who had supported it are posted at and respectively.


It is evident that the failure begins with the Constitution that has created this institution without any systemic checks and worse, provided armor to it through a blasphemously anti-democratic contempt powers. Imagine an employer of a company being made liable to punishment for calling out a non-performing employee. Did the architect(s) of our Constitution forget the very meaning of the term democracy?

While a detailed analysis- ‘Report of the NCRWC- a Citizens Review’- can be read at, the following notes, by one of the two of the non-judicial members of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, are relevant:

Dr Subash Kashyap, former Secretary General of Lok Sabha, had noted: 'While no comments are being made on what went wrong in the procedure, priorities and perspective, it may be put on record that several of the recommendations now forming part of the report go directly counter to the clear decisions of the Commission on which the unanimously adopted draft report of the Drafting and Editorial Committee was based'.

Also, 'The Chapter 7 of the Report is titled 'The Judiciary'.  This chapter particularly is seriously flawed and distorted. The much needed Judicial Reform issues have not been even touched or these got deleted in the final draft'?


Shouldn’t this suffice to overhaul our judiciary, lock, stock and barrel? Right from the format of petitions to the complete process from registering a case to its conclusion, every aspect of our judicial functions needs to be reworked.


The first issue that comes in the context of format of petitions is the content and details.

 Given that the petitioner is a layman and the judge is a qualified lawyer, shouldn’t it suffice if the petitioner just narrates the facts of the complaint in the petition? Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the judge to evaluate it in the context of the laws, get clarifications if any (on the facts only) from the respondent and the petitioner and give a fair verdict? I read somewhere that both the parties to litigation know the facts, it is the judge who is on trial. How true. So, if the judge gives a verdict which is not only fair but also seen to be fair, it can be assured that there are no further appeals.


This also brings us to the issue of having advocates representing parties and costs.

For the simple reason that the judges are legally qualified persons, the need for advocates representing parties should be banned. This is mandatory for providing a level playing field. Fali S Nariman, a reputed Constitutional lawyer, in his book 'India's Legal system: Can it be saved?’, had rightly written that ‘For more years than I can imagine we lawyers have been using our lawyering skills not in a profession but in a game, in which the more skilful (which tends to become also the more costly), will invariably win.’


(I will request my law qualified friends not to take umbrage at this suggestion. The need is to have law qualified people practicing law as doctors practice health care. Nitty-gritties can be worked out)


It is seen that quite often petitions are made bulkier by listing cases laws, most of which may not even have any bearing on the issues relevant to the case. In fact I have read at least one advocate, Mathew J Nedumpara, explaining tirelessly that verdict of a particular case apply only to the parties involved in the case (res judicata) and it is the principles on which decisions are made that make for precedents (stare decisis). It cannot be that principles keep changing with every other case. To begin with, case laws, older than 5 years should be declared invalid. Today, with advocates on both sides presenting some facts, some laws and some case laws, it appears that judges can easily toss a coin and decide whom to favor with his verdict.


On the subject of principles on which decisions are made, it is interesting to note the flip flops in the court decisions. One of them ended with the establishment of a blasphemous basic structure theory. Here is an interesting report (‘Basic structure of the Constitution revisited’) at


It was followed by the constitution of an unconstitutional Collegium for the appointment of judges. This was done by resorting to a never heard of interpretation of the meaning of a common English word ‘consultation’. That it got entrenched through a series of judgments when the Executive at the Centre was weak cannot be mere coincidence.


Coming to costs, there is no reason why this should not be free as rule of law is as important, if not more, than education and health which are practically free in government schools and health care centers.


Regarding the conduct of trials and verdict, it is of utmost importance that cases are disposed of on first come first served basis. Of course it will apply only to similar type of cases. So time frames have to be laid down for each category of cases and enforced. Some flexibility can be provided like giving, say, 10 percent extra time for 10 percent cases, on a case by case basis, by a superior court. Any default should be dealt with seriously and severe or repeated default should result in termination of the services of the judge.


The need for day to day trials, once charge sheet is submitted, cannot be overemphasized. Not only are the facts fresh in the minds of the parties and witnesses, it is also easy for the judge to correlate them and come to rational and fair conclusions.


I have read of the apex court mandating that verdicts should be delivered within 6 months of the conclusion of arguments. But I know of high court judges being elevated to the apex court even when they have failed to deliver judgment for 4 years after final arguments and moved to the higher court without delivering it, leaving the litigant in the lurch.


Even at the end of preposterously prolonged trials it can be seen that the verdicts are not seen to be fair. There are many cases where trial courts have sentenced the guilty to death and the apex court exonerating them or reducing the sentence to life imprisonment after the convict has already spent a life term or more as an under trial. With all sentences ordered to be running concurrently the convict is soon out as a free bird to get back to his vocation as a criminal.


The other day I was reading a report, ‘US: 54-year-old man rapes a 14-year-old girl multiple times, sentenced to 50 years in jail and physical castration’ (29 April, 2024,


I wonder why and under what laws are our courts prescribing that all punishments should run concurrently when the investigating authorities and prosecuting authorities have worked day and night to prove every charge from conspiracy through planning to executing a crime of murder?


Incidentally, in the case of a judge who died in an accident the trial court itself had sentenced the guilty to life imprisonment till death. One report is at Interestingly the report does not mention any motive or previous history of conviction in any crime for those sentenced.


Contrast this with the case of murder of a primary school teacher in Kerala in front of his students by a mob and six of the accused being sentenced to death. Even after the High Court upheld the verdict, years later, the apex court acquitted 5 of them and commuted death to life imprisonment for the sixth. Just imagine the plight of those acquitted living with the threat of death for more than a decade. Did the apex court act against the judges who sentenced them to death? Did the court order action against the investigating officers and prosecutors? Did the court order apprehension of the others involved?


My study of the performance of our judiciary over the last 25 years has made me doubt not only the competence of our judges but even their integrity.


The instances of misuse of power are plenty but the situation is worse now what with 85 percent of the judges in the Supreme Court being kith and kin of former judges or senior judicial officers, as per a list released by National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms.


Incidentally, the apex court that had illegally trashed the duly enacted National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, had, during the Emergency days, used an amendment to the Constitution (39th amendment to the Constitution, 10 Aug 1975) to exonerate the then Prime Minister Indira Gandi who had been earlier convicted in an electoral malpractice case by the Allahadbad High Court (State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain, 1975 SCR (3) 333). Imagine the horror of it. A convict allowed to amend the Constitution in her favour and the apex court accepting that amendment to exonerate her. If this is not turning law on its head then what could it be? Of course such cases cannot happen routinely but what about the principle of conviction being based on the laws existing at the time of occurrence?


Whether it was a Chief of Army Staff’s date of birth or an employee seeking pension that had been denied to him or the entry of women in Sabarimala, incompetence of the judges is writ large on the verdicts.


When the School Leaving Certificate is the accepted proof of date of birth I cannot understand how a court can accept an error in an application form to be authentic and not accept the date in the School Leaving Certificate produced as supporting document. And the court never asked why a Lt General, on the eve of his promotion to a higher office in the same rank, had to sign an undertaking that he was accepting his date of birth in the application as true and not the one in his School Leaving Certificate. The press and visual media went to town stating that the General, then Chief of Army Staff, was selfishly trying to get advantage of one more year in that office. He was even threatened with prosecution for contempt of court when, while answering media persons, he had responded that he did not feel justice had been done to him.


If that was in the case of a Chief of Army Staff, which the whole nation was watching eagerly, the cases of lesser mortals can well be imagined.


There is this gentleman who served with the Central Government for 18 years and resigned for personal reasons. He was denied pension and all terminal benefits merely because he had resigned. Subsequently, on learning of a Supreme Court order saying that pension is not charity but deferred wages he applied to Central Administrative Tribunal for his entitled pension. The ignoramuses in CAT dismissed his petition saying it was time barred. On appeal, the High Court referred it back to CAT stating that there is no time bar for pay and pension related issues. The case shuttled between the CAT and High Court another 3 times before, against all principles of natural justice, the High Court dismissed the last case, after 6 years, by quoting Rule 26(1) of CCS (P) Rules 1972. As per this rule an employee forfeits all his previous service if he resigns.  While this, by itself, is obnoxious Rule 40 of the same CCS Rules provides for payment of pension and gratuity to government servants compulsorily retired from service as a penalty. Wondering how the justice seeker could retain his sanity all through.


In contrast is the case of a former acting chief justice of a high court being granted enhanced pension, due to him on attaining 80 years of age, on his attaining 79 years of age itself on the plea that he had entered 80 years then. Weird as this claim was, the court added its own justifications like the profession of a  judge being a noble one and pension being a welfare measure etc. (Orders, dated 15/03/2018, of the Gauhati High Court in WP(C) 4224/2016 and upheld by the Supreme Court on 08/07/2019 in SLP (Civil) Diary Number 18133/2019)


The judgment, on women’s entry in Sabarimala temple, dated 28 September 2018 in WP (C) No. 373 OF 2006, is another one of its class where four of the five judges of the apex court proved their incompetence in interpreting the provisions of the Constitution. Articles 25 and 26 deal with freedom of religion. 25(2)(b) is restrictive and discriminatory in so far as it provides for opening of only Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus. It is this discrimination, based on religion, that should have been addressed rather than misinterpreting it as a gender based discrimination because women of a particular age group only are banned from entering the temple. This by any stretch of imagination can only be a reasonable restriction as propounded in the many articles on fundamental rights.


In contrast, there is absolute ban on women entering their places of worship in other religions. Worse, as per a report, dated April 13, 2021 (‘Supreme Court junks ‘frivolous’ plea to remove 26 Quran verses’ at ) the apex court imposed Rs 50,000 as cost on the petitioner, Syed Wasim Rizvi, former chairman of Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board who had prayed for regulation of Madrassa education on the ground that children should not be indoctrinated and to ensure steps are taken to avoid literal teaching of verses advocating violence.


In the Mangalore air crash, while the high court granted same compensation to all those who died, the apex court revised it, and based it on the income of the victims. One is flabbergasted on what role the passenger’s income has got to do with the compensation when he had bought his tickets at the same price as the rest. One could understand if different compensations were paid based on the different classes of passengers and the fares paid by them.


The above examples should suffice to conclude that no common sense, no principles and no rationale apply to our judges and their judgments. No wonder somebody commented that ‘we do not get justice in our courts, what we get in our courts is called justice‘. The important question is whether citizens of a democracy should accept this as a gospel?


The politicians are often criticized for attempts to subvert the Constitution but the fact is that the architects of the Constitution themselves had subverted it given that the contents are not in synch with the objectives outlined in the Preamble. This had led to the apex court first declaring, in Berubari Union Case (1960), that the Preamble is not part of the Constitution and cannot be enforced in a court of law and then correcting it after more than a decade in Kesavanada Bharathi (1973) stating that it was part of the Constitution but cannot be amended under Article 368. But then we saw the terms ‘Socialist Secular’ and ‘and integrity’ being inserted in the Preamble on 03 Jan 1977, during the dark age of Emergency from 25 Jun 1975 to 21 Mar 1977. And the courts did nothing about it.


We have seen how the judiciary had let down even the armed forces, held by the people as a symbol of national pride along with the national flag and national anthem, by their insane verdict in the date of birth case of the Chief of Army Staff. But that was not the first or last in the series of patently wrong judgments of the apex court affecting soldiers. In what is known as The Rank Pay Case, the armed forces officers had been cheated of their Rank Pay introduced in 1986. But the first petitioner, Major Dhanapalan got relief in early 2000. But the court did not extend justice to similarly placed officers. It forced a large number of officers to pursue cases in different groups, all over the country. It took over a decade before these cases were disposed of but only after denying them the dues of 20 years, from 01 Jan 1986 to 31 Dec 2005. Worse, those who had perpetrated the fraud on the gullible officers were not punished.


The injustice should be obvious because it was around the same time that Subroto Roy of Sahara went to jail because he could not refund almost Rs 25000 crores to his investors as directed by the court within a specified period. I doubt if all the investors had approached the court for this relief. (For details see I cannot blame those who ask in subdued tones if any judges were there among the investors.


More recently, in the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) case too, the apex court let down the soldiers by turning the definition of OROP- two personnel from the armed forces in the same rank and with the equal length of service should get the same pension irrespective of their dates of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension must be automatically passed on to past pensioners- itself on its head. Consequently, while the anomalies are gross, the case of Major Generals drawing less pension than Brigadiers, who are junior in rank and years of service, had been highlighted in the order itself. But this has only been mitigated, but not corrected, by raising the Major General’s pension to that of the Brigadier.


Interestingly, OROP has been in existence for judges, MPs, MLAs bureaucrats and even the Chiefs of the armed forces since long. Only thing is the format has been different. For MPs and MLAs it is minimum pension beginning with one day of service and a regular pension after 5 years of service. Thereafter there is a fixed increment for every additional year of service. For the babus, at the top two levels they have a fixed amount as pay, and pension being 50 percent of that, every retiree, irrespective of his date of retirement gets the same pension. It applies to the Chief of armed forces who hold the rank of General and equivalent and to Lt Generals and equivalents who are Vice Chiefs and Army Commanders. Other Lt Generals who retire in the same rank and service have, obviously, been left out.


Another case in which the apex court has failed soldiers is in what is known as the NFU (for Non-functional Financial Upgradation) case. This obnoxious scheme was introduced in 2006 for the IAS and IPS only, only to promotion incompetence but on the specious argument of stagnation for promotion in their services. By this, if any member of the IAS gets promoted anywhere in the country, the financial benefits would automatically be passed on to all the members of the same batch. In a blatantly discriminatory manner, the same benefit would be passed on to the members of the same batch of IPS only after two years. Worse, the members of the other Group A services like IFS, IRS etc were denied it initially. But they got them after approaching the CAT. The ones who were more eligible, if not the only ones who should have been eligible for such a scheme, the armed forces officers, even after getting a favorable verdict from the Armed forces Tribunal in 2016 are still waiting for it. An appeal filed by the Central Government against this verdict has recently been withdrawn. See the table below for the relative comparison of promotions in the armed forces vis a vis the civil services.

The armed forces officers are not only lacking in promotion avenues but even the promotions come late. For example, an army officer gets promoted to the rank of Major General, considered equivalent to the Joint Secretary, on completing 26 years of service, whereas the babu gets promoted to Joint Secretary with just 14 years of service. Worse, it is not only promotion avenues that are lacking for armed forces officers but there is attrition also what with the majority of them getting superannuated as Colonels on attaining 54 years of service.


The above case has been explained in some detail only to highlight how a case that should have been disposed off in one hearing had dragged on for 9 years and then had to be withdrawn by the appellants. Contrast this with the case of the high court judge who had been given enhanced pension one year before it was due to him.


We have already seen how a false concept of Basic Structure of the Constitution and an unconstitutional Collegium has been thrust on the nation by the judges of our apex court. And we had a situation when these judges were almost demanding that the President just sign the appointment letters prepared by the Collegium.


Now let me walk through some not so much discussed issues.


Firstly, let me begin with the use of the honorific ‘Justice’ by judges of the higher judiciary.  Article 124 (1) states that There shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India and, until Parliament by law prescribes a larger number, of not more than seven other Judges. That is the appointment is as judges and the senior most is designated as the Chief Justice. So the correct, and only, permissible use is Mr abc, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India or Ms xyz, Judge, Supreme Court of India. Similar logic applies for judges of the High Court under Article 216 of the Constitution. Interestingly, the judges in the subordinate courts do not use this honorific, though they are also judges as per the Constitution and doing the same job. Justice is what is supposed to be delivered by the judges. That brings us to yet another question: why should a high court judge retire at 62 years of age when the one in the Supreme Court retires only at 65? And why should judges retire at 62 and 65 when the babus, file pushers, retire at 60? Quixotically, the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air force retire at 62 years of age and the Chief of Defense Staff at 65.


As an aside it is important to look at what judging is all about. Is it really a profession that requires rigorous training and exercise? To my mind, it is one of the basic and inherent qualities in every human, nay, living, being. All that our designated judges are required to have is knowledge of the law and a commonsensical approach in applying those to given circumstances. Though we have often heard a quip ‘ignorance of law is not an excuse’ we have never questioned why judges are never taken to task when their judgments are overturned by appellate courts.


Article 124(7) states that No person who has held office as a Judge of the Supreme Court shall plead or act in any court or before any authority within the territory of India. Now this is essentially a bar on reemployment of judges, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, the language is not that obvious. So let us look at the provision for judges of the high courts. Article 220 states that No person who, after the commencement of this Constitution, has held office as a permanent Judge of a High Court shall plead or act in any court or before any authority in India except the Supreme Court and the other High Courts. Here obviously there is no scope of any ambiguity.


In spite of this, apart from the already provided re-employment in various tribunals and quasi judicial bodies, the judges tried to usurp some more by ordering that chief information commissions should be either a retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court and that cases should be decided by a bench of two members one of whom should the law qualified and preferably a retired high court judge. (Reportedly the only Chief Information Commissioner who had been suspended from that post was M A Khan, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court. He had been suspended on 09 July 2008 by Governor T V Rajeswar Rao for ‘violating norms for recruiting employees in the commission, financial irregularities, mistreating complainants and non-cooperation with colleagues’. He had later committed suicide due to depression.)


Interestingly Para 9 of the order in WP(C ) 210/2012, states: The appointment of the judicial members to any of these posts shall be made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of the High Courts of the respective States, as the case may be. Recollect the term ‘consultation’? Fraudulently and dangerously given to mean as concurrence for justifying the unconstitutional Collegium?  Fortunately, almost one year after this order a division bench of the court recalled the order but with different directions. Of those this one is particularly relevant:  that the Committees under Sections 12(3) and 15(3) of the Act while making recommendations to the President or to the Governor, as the case may be, for appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners must mention against the name of each candidate recommended, the facts to indicate his eminence in public life, his knowledge in the particular field and his experience in the particular field and these facts must be accessible to the citizens as part of their right to information under the Act after the appointment is made.’


Now just think of applying the same direction in the case of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The bigotry should be obvious.


I am for all tribunals and quasi judicial bodies being treated as specialist courts and should have a common mode of recruitment. And it should not be left to be filled by retired judges or bureaucrats.


My experiences with these quasi judicial bodies have convinced me that they are worse than fly by night operators and a waste of the tax payers’ money. A detailed study about the Information Commissions has been done in three parts of this serious.


A Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Law and Justice, then headed by Rajya Sabha member E.M.S Natchiappan, had commented that 'Judges appointing judges is bad enough in itself; judges judging judges is worse.'


A former CJI had admitted that 20 percent judges were corrupt. A Transparency International Report revealed that the judiciary and police were the most corrupt institutions in India. Adv Prashant Bhushan exposed that 8 CJIs were corrupt and though contempt of court action was initiated his claim that corruption was used in the wider sense of the term got him reprieve. As if such corruption was legal and ethical. But, in spite of such revelations and admissions, the cause of concern is that nothing has been done to control these crimes. But there are even more serious crimes for which ordinary citizens would have been sent to the coolers for life but judges have got away because of brothers in black cloak judging them. Mysore sex scandal involving judges and women advocates and  illegal land allotment scam, involving judges, both in Karnataka, cash at door step scam involving judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court,  P D DInakaran case, involving multiple charges, are a few that easily comes to mind. While the details can be got by searching on the internet here are three links that I found very interesting:


Ø  and

Ø  a document corruption-in-indian-judiciary_1511777721 that can be downloaded from


Law Commission of India, then headed by a former Supreme Court judge AR Lakshmana, had, in its Report No 230 of Aug 2009, dwelt on the issue of judicial reforms. It had admitted to the failure of the Collegium and the need to revert to the old system, the need for cutting short of vacations by 10-15 days, increasing the working hours by half an hour per day, better use of court time etc. Even these symbolic changes have not been implemented till date.  Unfortunately, it had also harped on the judge to population ratio which is a farce. What matters is the judge to docket ratio. This, as per data presented by K T S Tulsi, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court in 2004, was highly in favor of the judges in India. They were handling only less than one third the cases being dealt with by their counterparts in the US of A. People who quote this false reason to cover up their incompetence and other shortcomings should not be eligible, not only for holding the offices of judges but even of any other public office.


Things have spiraled down so badly that we have witnessed Supreme Court judges (verbally) convicting victims, not only without trial but without even knowing the facts, as it happened in Nupur Sharma Case. More recently we had another judge threatening to tear apart an accused in a contempt of court case. Reading of such instances one is tempted to ask: arrogance, is your other name a judge?

To conclude this part, here are two quotes:

Justice is an intrinsic human need. We suffer much privation but we cannot suffer being wronged. Absence of justice, we must not forget, is one of the causes of crime.

('Needed high speed legal redressal'-Aravind Kumar, Jurist and lawyer, Pioneer, Kochi,01 Aug 2006)

The judicial system of the country, far from being an instrument for protecting the rights of the weak and oppressed, has become an instrument of harassment of the common people of the country.

(People's Convention of Judicial Reforms and Accountability held at ISI, New Delhi on 10-11 Mar 2007;


P M Ravindran/ / 12 Jun 2024

Sunday 25 February 2024



In critiques of this nature statistics, when available, are an important factor in providing authenticity to the narrative.


Kerala State Information Commission (KSIC) had been periodically putting up data about registration, disposal and pending cases.  But they have not followed any standard format. For example, in 2007 and 2014 it is cases registered and disposed, the pending figures are left to be calculated by the viewer. In 2021 it is registered and pending, disposed is left to be calculated.  On closer scrutiny it is seen that there is no integrity either. Here is some data compared from 4 documents downloaded at three different times:

Abbreviations used: C- Complaints; A- Appeals.











Note: C-Complaint, A-Appeal

Row No

Doc downloaded










Date (ddmmyy)

               Column No >











Jan-Dec 2006







Jan-May 2007














Oct 2005-Nov 2013

Oct 2005-Dec 2006














Jan-Dec 2006











Jan-Dec 2017














Jan-Dec 2017




Notes: (i)         Presuming that Registered and Received mean same, figures at R1C1 (471)   does not tally with R4C5 (472).    *R1C1 means cell at Row1, Column 1

(ii)               R1C1 (471)-R1C3 (309) = 162 (Pending complaints at the end of 2006). It is shown as zero in R4C7. Similar discrepancy for appeals too.

(iii)             R5C5 (1382)-R6C3 (547) = 835 (Pending complaints at the end of 2017). It is shown as 500 in R5C7. Similar discrepancy for appeals too.

(iv)              Standard format for presenting such data is already available, for example in financial accounting. There is always the Amount Brought Forward, Receipts/Income during the month/year, Payments/Expenditure during the same period and Amount Carried Forward/Pending. This would translate to: Cases Brought Forward, New Cases Registered, Cases Disposed Of, Cases Carried Forward. If the cases are disposed of on First Come, First Served basis, as it should be, the cases brought forward, in an annual statement, cannot be older than the ones registered during the previous year and there cannot be cases that are older than those registered in the current year that are carried forward. Under the circumstances, since cases, even complaints, are pending for many years the Cases Brought Forward, Cases Disposed Of and Cases Carried Forward will need sub-columns indicating the years pertaining to the cases too.

This kind of detail is necessary to ensure that cases are not pending for unduly long periods and also for institutions like banks to track their Non Performing Assets involved in court cases.

(v)                The above data had thrown up more facts like between the 4 ICs, including the CIC, in 2006, they had disposed of only 485 cases, including complaints. Presuming 200 working days for 2 who were there throughout the year and 120 days for two who had been appointed only on 24/05/2006, it works out to just less than one case per IC per day.

(vi)              It was at this point that I decided to do a thorough study of the information available at the website of the KSIC. The results have been compiled separately as SUBVERSION OF THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (RTI) ACT: A CASE STUDY OF KERALA STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION (KSIC). This is attached at the end of this paper. Copy of this has already been submitted to the constitutional authorities like the Governor of Kerala, the President of India and the CJI through email to, and


It is pertinent to recollect here that a letter had been addressed to the President of India, on 21/04/2007, to remove Wajahat Habibullah, the first CIC of the Central Information Commission when he had sent an appeal under the RTI Act, against the PIO of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), to the KSIC. Not once, but twice.


The simple fact was that a complaint had been submitted to the then President of the NCDRC, M B Shah, in person by me on 17 Aug 2005, as a member of Save Consumer Courts Action Council, a collective of consumer activists of Kerala. The complaint was, among other things, that he had filed a false affidavit in the High Court of Kerala and it had been placed on record by the High Court in Confederation of Consumer Vigilance Centre Vs State of Kerala (2004(3) KLT 1073). The relevant extract of the order is given below:

The application, dated 24/03/2006 under the RTI Act, sought information on action taken on the complaint. When no response was received from the PIO of NCDRC, the matter was escalated to the Central Information Commission, then headed by Wajahat Habibulla.
  It was this appeal that was forwarded by the CIC to the KSIC. In spite of clarifying the matter through email and when provided an additional copy, even that copy was forwarded to KSIC.  That was when the President was approached, on 21/04/2007, to remove Wajahat Habibulla under Section 14(3)(d) which reads as:

The President may by order remove from office the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner if the Chief Information Commissioner or a Information Commissioner, as the case may be,—

is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body

Needless to say, no action was taken and Wajahat Habibullah continued in office to subvert the law with impunity.


Here are a few more examples of the preposterous failures of the Central Information Commission:

1.      Two appeals were sent on 07/07/2010, under one covering letter, against the PIOs of State Bank of India. One was disposed of on 18/12/2010, and the other lost. In the one that was disposed of, the decision was correct but the delay was condoned without reason. The lost appeal was never found. Against an application under the RTI Act to find its disposal, even though the FAA had directed the PIO to trace it, the IC, Shailesh Gandhi, disposed it off by stating that all available information had been provided. If there is one example needed to prove Schopenhauer, this was it. This also proved another glaring lapse- the failure of ICs to go through the appeals themselves and the failure of the CIC as an institution to even conduct inquiries to fix responsibility and take corrective action.

2.      The best decision I have ever received on an appeal under the RTI Act was from Annapoorna Dixit. The appeal was against the failure of the PIO of Southern Railway, Chennai to provide information on the progress of construction of road over bridges (ROBs) in the erstwhile Palakkad Division. It was declined under the most misused provision of voluminous information diverting the resources of the public authority disproportionately. But the IC directed it to be provided, as per order dated 19/05/2009 in appeal number CIC/OK/A/2008/00766-AD. I got 13 pages of Excel spreadsheet data. Meanwhile the delay in providing this data had exceeded 100 days warranting imposition of the maximum penalty of Rs 25,000/-. But the IC just took the period between her direction and provision of the information as the delay period and imposed just Rs 7000/- as penalty as per adjunct dated 16/06/2009 to the earlier order.

3.      Subsequently, an update of the same details was sought through an application dated on 19/09/2013. There were no responses either from the PIO or from the FAA. The IC, Vijay Sharma, in his order dated 08/07/2015, recorded a lie that the PIO had provided a reply on 04/10/2013, when it was just a letter forwarding the application to the concerned PIO under Section 5 of the RTI Act. Isn’t there something drastically wrong with the selection process of the information commissioners? If this is the quality and competence of the people selected after their retirement from regular employment is there any need to imagine why our system of administration in government is so corrupt and treacherous?

4.      In another simple case with the railways, I had sought copies of the reservation chart which had been updated by the TTE during a journey. The intention was two-fold: one, to check whether the TTE was allotting berths to passengers who had been provided sitting accommodation in sleeper coaches strictly in the order of the Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) list. The second one was to learn if those passengers who had to complete the travel availing sitting accommodation only, even though they had paid the full sleeper class fare while purchasing the tickets, were eligible for refund of the excess fare. These two issues are interrelated too. Because, having paid the full fare, the TTE needed to only allot berths falling vacant due to some passengers failing to turn up. There was no need to issue any fresh receipt for additional charges. This provides a better environment for corruption where the TTE could just mark the berth allotted to an RAC passenger, in the reservation chart held with him.

Horror of horrors, the PIO, P A Dhananjayan, IRTS, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Railway Divisional Office, Palakkad replied on 04/10/2013 that an amount of Rs 750/- per PNR number should be paid for every page. The relevant extract of the reply is given below:

Before proceeding further here is one clarification: the railways are bound by the rules laid down by the competent authority which is the Central Government. They have no business demanding any fee beyond Rs 2/- per copy of an A4 size page or actual photocopying charges for other sizes. PIOs making such blasphemous demands and the FAA concurring with them are glaring evidence of how the RTI Act has been subverted at all levels with the ultimate responsibility being with the ICs.

Incidentally, even the Rs 2/- demanded for supplying one page of their internal order is illegal as such information is required to be provided suo moto under Section 4(1)(b)(v) of the RTI Act.

So no prizes for guessing what would be the order of the IC. In this case, IC Bimal Julka, disposed of the appeal, CIC/VS/A/2014/001182/BJ on 14/07/2016 with the lie that ‘the information sought by the appellant had been provided’. 

5.      An appeal against the Animal Welfare Board, pending with the Central IC, since 16/02/2023, without even an acknowledgement, is a classic illustration of how the RTI Act has been castrated. There had been no response from the PIO or the FAA. It could easily have been a complaint but since ICs have been seen sending the complaint to the FAA for providing a reply and directing the complainant to file the appeal again if no reply or unsatisfactory reply is received, this unwarranted procedure was sought to be avoided by filing the 1st appeal in the usual manner and then the 2nd appeal.

6.      To subvert a simple, unambiguous law like the RTI Act needs special skill. That is how I homed on to those responsible for administering government services. There is a quip: a man at 20 if he is not an idealist has no heart, at 40 if he is not pragmatic, he has no head. And I have read about the rank holders of Civil Services Exam claiming that they chose it for serving the public. I have no reason for not believing them. But then there is certainly a big slip between what they talk and do later. I know that the candidates for civil services are not selected based on any assessed quality like armed forces officers are in the Services Selection Boards. The only assessment is of memorizing and recollecting. A matter of 1 percent motivation, 9 percent perspiration and 90 percent luck. Because the canvas is wide, a question that becomes pertinent is:  what is the need to know the name of the President of Timbaktu to be a clerk in a government office? That’s when I decided to find out how the Alma Mater of the babus respond to applications under the RTI Act.

On 07 Apr 2017, I sought some information from the Lal Bahadur Sastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) where future administrators of the government are trained. The information sought (IS) and the reply received (RR), along with my comments are given below:

IS 1.1. What is the duration of training of a member newly admitted into the IAS? Provide the date of commencement of training of the current batch and the date when it will conclude. If there is no such batch undergoing training, provide teh date of commencement and conclusion of training of the last batch.

RR: The duration of training are: Foundation Course from 29/08/2016 to 9/12/2016, IAS Course Professional Course Phase 1 from 12/1/22016 to 12/05/2017. District Training during IAS Phase II will be for 53 weeks and professional course Phase II will be for 6 weeks in LBSNAA, Mussoorie.

Comment: Is the reply complete and unambiguous? You decide.

IS 1.2. If the training period is in different phases/parts/institutions/places provide the details of each phase, duration in weeks and institutions/places

RR: The period will be as above. Intuitional (sic) training to be in the State ATIs and period will be differ in each case.


Comment: Presuming that the institutional training is part of the District Training, it has to be within the 53 weeks. But why are the dates not provided for these 53 weeks of an ongoing course? And the dated of the 6 weeks of Phase II training?

IS 1.3. Are the trainees provided stipend/salary during the period of training or any part/phase of the training?

RR: During the Foundation Course and  IAS Professional Course Phase 1 the academy pays salary advance of Rs 50,000/- per month. After reliving (sic) from the Academy after completion of Phase I training, the trainees get full salary from their respective state government.


Comment: An advance is paid from what is due in future. So what does this salary advance paid during the foundation course and Phase I Professional Course mean?

IS 1.9. When is the service period reckoned from- on reporting for/commencement of training or completion of training and reporting for duty?

RR:  The service period reckoned from reporting of training.

Comment: That nails it, doesn’t it? If the service period is reckoned from the date of reporting for training, then the remuneration/salary has also got to be due from that date. So why obfuscate a simple issue? (For the moment, forget the confusion between date of reporting for, which will be variable for each candiate, and date of commencement of training, which will be the same for all candidates.)

The first appeal was responded to with a curt This appeal is being treated as cancelled. Kindly desist from further communciation on this issue with this authority. It was signed by Thulasi Maddineni as the Appellate Authority and Deputy Director.


Apart from filing the 2nd appeal with the Central Information Commission on 14/07/2017 (which is pending till date), the only other thing I could do was to write to the Director, LBSNAA to either send the FAA to a lunatic asylum or try him/her for treason.


It would be presumptuous of me to quote celebrities on corruption in India. The deaf, dumb and the blind know the extent to which it prevails in India. N N Vohra Committee’s Report of 1993- on the politician-bureaucrat-underworld nexus is passé. One just needs to browse through media reports about the scams in Kerala during the last 8 years where the name of the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan and his Secretary, Sivasankaran of the IAS, has figured. Also the reports of life convicts in prisons getting privileges not available to ordinary under-trials would cover the other link too.  Not to forget the tax payers’ money being splurged by the government to engage celebrity lawyers to challenge even CBI enquiries ordered by the high court in murder cases. 


In the years since the establishment of the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) in 1974, Hong Kong had been transformed into one of the least corrupt places in the world, as recognized by international institutions such as the World Bank, the Heritage Foundation and Transparency International.


In India we have the Central Vigilance Commission operating since 1964, though it was given a statutory status only in 2003 through the CVC Act. But how effective has the CVC been in controlling corruption? The only case I can recollect in the context of the CVC is of a Central Vigilance Commissioner being removed in 2011 by the apex court, due to a case pending against him in a scam since 1992. Any data available on corrupt public servants prosecuted and punished? The website of the CVC hasn’t published even the information required to be disclosed under Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act, completely. Even the disclosure under Section 4(1)(b)(x) regarding remuneration of the officers and employees have been provided only in terms of levels of a pay matrix which makes no sense to the layman. Even the number of employees at each level has not been provided. That way the apex court disclosure is one step better because the scale of pay at each level of the matrix has been provided and the nominal roll of the employees has been provided separately.


The problem, as I can see it, is the government’s over dependence on babus. Whether it is the CVC or the CIC, retired babus are rehabilitated in these offices to deal with alleged offences/defects/deficiencies in services against their ex-colleagues. It had to be a sure shot prescription for disaster. The judiciary did try to have a share of the pie by ordering that information commissioners shall decide cases in benches of two, one being from the judiciary. They had to beat a hasty retreat. Namit Sharma cases only created confusion for a few months and then it was all back to normal.


Interestingly, the apex court recently tried to take on a role in the appointment of the Election Commissioners (and not for a role as election commissioner itself), forgetting that it was not only the election commissioners who were being appointed in the manner they are by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, another minister and the Leader of the Opposition. These kinds of interventions would really make any rational citizen question the intentions and competence of the judiciary too.


P M Ravindran/ /23 Feb 2024