Stalin urges PM Modi, CJI to maintain social diversity in appointment of top court judges

In a letter Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, Stalin said that it is important that the composition of the Supreme Court and the high courts reflect the diverse and pluralistic society of India.
Chief minister MK Stalin demanded that Tamil be made the official language of the Madras high court and its bench in Madurai, besides English. (PTI)
Chief minister MK Stalin demanded that Tamil be made the official language of the Madras high court and its bench in Madurai, besides English. (PTI)
Published on May 13, 2022 12:33 AM IST
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Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India N V Ramana to maintain social diversity in the appointment of judges in the high courts and Supreme Court, and establish permanent regional benches of the SC in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

He also demanded that Tamil be made the official language of the Madras high court and its bench in Madurai, besides English.

In a letter detailing the demands, Stalin said that it is important that the composition of the Supreme Court and the high courts reflect the diverse and pluralistic society of India. “...We must not lose sight of the fact that the judicial branch also must reflect the spirit of co-operative federalism enshrined in our Constitution,” Stalin said in his letter.

“For the past few years, we have been witnessing declining representation from all the sections of the society in the higher judiciary, leading to a ‘diversity deficit’. Judicial diversity is fundamental to the quality of judging. A broad based, heterogeneous group of Judges representing various sections of the society as a whole alone can reflect the views and values of society as a whole, particularly on issues involving historical, traditional, linguistic and cultural matters.”

Another federal character which must reflect in the judiciary, he said, is the establishment of regional SC benches to bridge geography and economic constraints. He recalled that the framers of the Constitution wanted all citizens – rich and poor -- to have direct access to the court. “That is why they enacted Article 32, a privilege not available in most other countries. Yet over time, this privilege has been eroded by economic constraints,” Stalin said. He said it is antithetical that Article 32 is now practically available only to citizens who are geographically close to the Supreme Court in Delhi and those who are financially privileged to afford litigation and travel costs. He added that several states including the south “are deprived of their fundamental right to approach the Court.” Stalin said that while there are 25 High Courts across the country, data shows that the number of appeals being filed in the Supreme Court is more from States around the NCR region than States located further away from Delhi.

“The last aspect that I wish to address is again an aspect of importance to cooperative federalism and that is the official language of the High Courts,” he said pointing out that the HCs of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Hindi has been authorised as the official language in addition to English.

Stalin submitted that the state government has taken initiatives to bring out standard books on Law in Tamil and since the language is both “Classical” and “vibrant” it would be “perfectly suitable to be used in the High Court”. He said that would make law and justice comprehensible to the common man. “The only concern with making the State’s official language the language of the High Court can be the requirement of translation when Judges from other States sit in the High Court,” he said. “However, with the improvement in modern technology, these difficulties can be easily bridged.” Stalin recalled that in a function held on April 23 at the Madras High Court for the Chief Justice of India, the latter had said on a light note that “judicial proceedings cannot be like chanting of mantras in a wedding that nobody understands”. So Stalin requested for steps to be taken to declare Tamil which is the official language of the Government of Tamil Nadu, as the official language of the High Court of Judicature at Madras and its Bench at Madurai, in addition to English.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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Thursday, May 26, 2022