For a clean judiciary: the importance of in-house mechanisms
The process to remove Justice Shukla shows the importance of in-house mechanisms
With an in-house committee concluding that a judge of the Allahabad High Court had committed judicial impropriety (अनुपयुक्तता) serious enough to warrant his removal, the subject of corruption in the higher judiciary is in the news. Justice Shri Narayan Shukla had come under adverse (प्रतिकूल) notice before a Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra last year. The Bench had found he had violated a restraining (निरोधक) order from the apex court by allowing the GCRG Memorial Trust, Lucknow, to admit students. The Supreme Court observed that the Bench headed by Justice Shukla had violated judicial propriety. The CJI formed a three-member committee, comprising Chief Justices Indira Banerjee of the Madras High Court and S.K. Agnihotri of the Sikkim High Court and Justice P.K. Jaiswal of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, to examine his conduct. The committee has now found substance in the allegations and that the judge had deviated from the “values of judicial life”. It is unfortunate that Justice Shukla has not tendered his resignation or sought retirement, the options available to him to avoid the ignominy (बदनामी) of impeachment in Parliament. His position has paved the way for the CJI to recommend his removal.
The allegations against him appear to correspond to the claims in a first information report registered by the CBI against another medical college trust and alleged middlemen, including a retired judge of the Orissa High Court, that there was a plot to influence (प्रभावित करना) public servants to obtain favourable orders. The allegation had set off a storm in the judiciary, as some orders related to medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh were also passed by Supreme Court Benches headed by Chief Justice Misra himself. The climactic event was the unprecedented (अभूतपूर्व) press conference at which four senior-most judges alleged the CJI had departed from convention while using his power to draw up the roster. It is important for the institution that the charges against Justice Shukla are properly investigated. It may have a sobering (संयत कर देने वाला) effect on those who desire that the institution be cleansed as well as those who feel there is an unwarranted onslaught (घातक आक्रमण) on it. The process of removing a judge is too elaborate and somewhat cumbersome (दुखदायक). However, an in-house finding may help hasten it in flagrant (कुप्रसिद्ध) cases. The possibility of getting a motion passed in Parliament is brighter, and the charge of the process being misused for partisan ends is reduced. The removal of a serving judge is undoubtedly a sad development, but one that the institution should not fight shy of in appropriate cases. That internal mechanisms work with due regard for institutional integrity is something that should be welcomed.
- Impropriety: Failure to observe standards of honesty or modesty; improper behaviour or character.
Synonyms: wrongdoing, misconduct, dishonesty, corruption, unscrupulousness, illegitimacy, unprofessionalism, irregularity
Antonyms: appropriateness, correctness, decency, decorousness, decorum, fitness, properness, propriety, rightness, seemliness, suitability, suitableness
- Adverse: opposed to one’s interests
Synonyms: counter, disadvantageous, hostile, inimical, negative, prejudicial, unfavorable, unfriendly, unsympathetic, untoward
Antonyms: advantageous, favorable, friendly, positive, supportive, sympathetic, well-disposed
- Restraining: to keep from exceeding a desirable degree or level (as of expression)
Synonyms: bridle, check, constrain, contain, curb, govern, hold, inhibit, keep, measure, pull in, regulate, rein (in), control, rule, tame
Antonyms: lose, emancipate, free, liberate, loose, loosen, release, spring
- Ignominy: the state of having lost the esteem of others
Synonyms: discredit, disesteem, dishonor, disrepute, disgrace, infamy, obloquy, odium, opprobrium, reproach, shame
Antonyms: esteem, honor, respect, admiration, appreciation, estimation, regard
- Influence: to act upon (a person or a person’s feelings) so as to cause a response
Synonyms: impact, impress, affect, move, reach, strike, sway, tell (on), touch
Antonyms: bore, jade, pall, tire, weary, underwhelm
- Unprecedented: not known or experienced before
Synonyms: fresh, novel, original, strange, unaccustomed, unfamiliar, unheard-of, unknown, new
Antonyms: familiar, hackneyed, old, time-honored, tired, warmed-over
- Sobering: Creating a more serious, sensible, or solemn mood.
- Onslaught: A fierce or destructive attack.
Synonyms: assault, attack, offensive, aggression, advance, charge, onrush, rush, storming, sortie, sally, raid, descent, incursion, invasion, foray, push, thrust, drive, blitz, bombardment, barrage, salvo, storm, volley, shower, torrent, broadside
Antonyms: defense, defensive, guard, shield, opposition, resistance, protection, security, shelter
- Cumbersome: difficult to use or operate especially because of size, weight, or design
Synonyms: awkward, bunglesome, clumsy, clunky, cranky, cumbrous, ponderous, ungainly, unhandy, unwieldy
Antonyms: functional, practicable, practical, serviceable, useful
- Flagrant: very noticeable especially for being incorrect or bad
Synonyms: blatant, conspicuous, egregious, glaring, gross, obvious, patent, pronounced, rank, striking
Antonyms: imperceptible, inconspicuous, unnoticeable, unobtrusive, inconsequential, inconsiderable, insignificant, slight, small, trifling, trivial
A year of Trump: how much has changed in the past year?
The American President has confused everybody with his State of the Union speech
In delivering his first State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump spoke of many small victories that he chalked (चिन्ह बनाना) up to his administration’s record over the past year. Yet the biggest surprise to many may have been the fact that they saw before them a Commander-in-Chief who unwaveringly (दृढ़तापूर्वक) stuck to the script and eschewed (छोड़ना) his usual provocative style on social media. While “Twitter Trump” has lashed out at Democrats on immigration reform and the federal government shutdown earlier in January, “Teleprompter Trump” issued a generous call for bipartisanship in policymaking. Where Mr. Trump has actively promoted, on social media, Russian involvement in resolving problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine and terrorism, he said in his Congressional address that Russia and China were rivals that challenged U.S. economic interests. Most strikingly, Mr. Trump assured his audience that prospective immigrant families would benefit from his proposed reform, yet just three months ago he had vowed (संकल्प) on Twitter that the Extreme Vetting Programme for migrants from certain countries was being stepped up to fourth gear. The divergence (असहमति) between Mr. Trump’s two assessments of the current scenario is troubling also because the softer version of Americana he outlined in the State of the Union speech is in stark contrast to his inaugural speech a year ago when he famously spoke of “American carnage”. The question is, how much has really changed in the intervening year?
Considering his administration’s successes first, at the top of the list is the passage in Congress of his tax-cut proposal that he claimed put more money back into American workers’ pockets and built the foundations of a stronger economy. Leaving aside the fact that it was the 12th largest tax cut in post-World War I history, and not the largest as Mr. Trump claimed, it is quite likely that his voter base appreciates his adherence (अनुपालन) to the Republican fiscal mantra. On the linked subject of growth and jobs, the economy expanded by 2.3% in 2017, which is less than it did in 2014 or 2015. Mr. Trump’s first year saw more than two million jobs created, yet that falls short of any of the last six years of his predecessor’s tenure. Mr. Trump’s decision to revoke the previous administration’s decision to shut down the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay may have been a throwaway to policy hawks, but it could turn out to be self-defeating to the extent that it serves as a recruitment tool for terrorist groups. While Americans will continue to debate these complex questions of domestic policy, the attention of the world, including India, must have been on Mr. Trump’s call to end the sought-after visa lottery and “chain migration”. Given the context of a hardening immigration policy, which could potentially affect legal migration, these remarks will likely make the American Dream seem like a mirage to separated loved ones and hopeful professionals on distant shores.
- Chalked: to explain (something) as being the result of something else
Synonyms: accredit, ascribe, attribute, credit, impute, lay, put down
Antonyms: fall short (of), miss, lose
- Unwaveringly: not varying
Synonyms: even, invariant, steady, unchanging, undeviating, unvarying, uniform
Anotnyms: changing, deviating, nonuniform, unsteady, varying
- Eschewed: to get or keep away from (as a responsibility) through cleverness or trickery
Synonyms: avoid, dodge, duck, elude, escape, evade, finesse, get around, scape, shake, shirk, shuffle (out of), shun, weasel (out of)
Antonyms: accept, court, embrace, pursue, seek, welcome, catch, contract, incur
- Vowed: a person’s solemn declaration that he or she will do or not do something
Synonyms: oath, pledge, troth, promise, word
- Divergence: a movement in different directions away from a common point
Synonyms: bifurcation, divarication, divergency, separation
Antonyms: convergence, accord, agreement
- Adherence: a physical sticking to as if by glue
Synonyms: adhesion, bonding, cling