Feudal culture

The usual procedure before transferring Chief Justices of High Courts is that the collegium headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will decide on the matter after the written hearing of one or more Supreme Court judges from that state.

Similarly, the practice is that the collegium should make a decision only after hearing the wishes of the transferring judge and his High Court selection for the transfer.

The peculiarity of appointing Supreme Court and High Court judges by judges itself is found only in India. It may be true that neither the government nor the law ministry has any role to play in helping to keep the judiciary free from political interference. But the judiciary has been subjected to a process of lack of transparency.

It does not make sense to say that if the reasons for the transfer of the Chief Justice of the High Court are made public, then his independent functioning in the next court will be affected.

When the transfer is done without stating the reason, it increases the chance of perceiving it as a punishment transfer. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee has said that he could not demolish the ‘feudal culture’ found in the Madras High Court when he was relieved from Chennai. He is obliged to explain what the ‘feudal culture’ means in this context.

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