The Supreme Court the Freedoms last Defense

The Supreme Court the Freedoms last Defense

19 April 2021 06:45 pm

The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land and its decisions are final. It is also uniquely placed with regard to many matters of grave constitutional importance. For instance, it has sole and exclusive jurisdiction with regard to fundamental and language rights and the interpretations of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court Bench that is hearing several petitions filed by several parties comprises of five judges. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court bench comprising of 5 judges hearing the Port city petition are all ex AG dept officials. No Career Judges have been appointed to the Bench hearing this petition. The Career Judges would have been the ideal composition to judge this petition as they would not have had prior involvement in this project.

Furthermore, three of the present Bench who are hearing these petitions including the CJ may have overlooked the drafting project in the AG's dept. At least one of these three judges would have been directly involved in drafting of the law for the Port City. Therefore isn't this a conflict of interest by the judges hearing these petitions? It is like judging your own case, "Nemo Judex in causa sua".

Therefore, should not the CJ look into the possibility of reconstituting the bench?

In the eyes of the public Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done. Prof. S. A. de Smith in his article, ‘Fundamental Rights in the New Commonwealth’ (1981) stressed on “the paramount importance of ensuring the integrity and independence of those upon whom the task of constitutional interpretation will fall. Unless the quality and status of the judiciary is commensurate with its responsibilities, the spirit of the constitution will escape into emptiness.