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Today’s Talk on Editorials November 15, 2017- Civils360

A question of Probity: The Hindu

Background: India’s supreme court is in crisis over the case of a former high court judge accused of offering to influence decisions for cash.A Constitution bench recently judged that Chief Justice of India had the powers to determine which bench of judges get to hear which cases.  Also. the apex court dismissed plea asking that a special investigation team (SIT) probe bribery charges against judges, saying that senior lawyers made irresponsible allegations.

  • Chief Justice must be acting as the responsible moral authority of the entire judicial system. It took a hit when the Chief Justice chose to reassert his own administrative powers in the face of allegations concerning the possible lack of probity of senior public functionaries.
  • When questions arise about the integrity and probity of such an institution, it is important to have an unbiased decision making to have public trust in the judiciary. Instead, the court threatened petitioners with warnings of contempt of court.
  • The issue arose recently in case of a medical college case. The case FIR indicated an attempt to fix a judicial proceeding, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court requesting that a Special Investigation Team under a retired Chief Justice of India be set up. However, it has since been dismissed by the apex court.
  • It is the prerogative of the Chief Justice alone to list matters and constitute Benches is a convention based on long practice. However, when there is a doubt about the justice delivery itself, it is necessary to leave the prerogative to another judge.
  • There are two main issues to be examined.One,  the cardinal principle that the Chief Justice of India is the master of the roster must be re-examined. Two, the indiscipline demonstrated by Justice Chelameswar’s Bench in listing a case and determining the Bench that hears it.  Judicial functioning has to be embodied in discipline, integrity, probity to uphold the true value of the judicial process.
  • judicial appointments need a ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’  if the system is to regain public confidence. If the moral authority of the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court is to be restored, something similar is needed urgently.

Chabahar Port – The Indian Express

Background: Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port. India-Iran-Afghanistan MoU and plans have committed at least $21bn to Chabahar-Hajigak corridor, including $85m for Chabahar port development by India, $150m line of credit by India to Iran, $8bn India-Iran MoU for Indian industrial investment in Chabahar Special Economic Zone. It is a potential tool for India’s Look West policy, for diversifying India’s energy sources and to have alternate connectivity through INSTC.

  • India announced its first shipment to Afghanistan via Chabahar port in Iran. A significant development is taking place in the region with Pakistan’s army chief meeting delegates in Iran earlier this week.
  • India’s Chabahar initiative has put Pakistan out of the geo-economic map of the region. For a long period, India was having the trouble of not having a proper connectivity with Afghanistan, It looks like the problem is resolved now without the help of Pakistan itself.
  • Pakistan’s historic relationship with Iran has been tense, indifferent and sometimes even hostile. The political divide was increased by Saudi Arabia’s influence on Pakistan. With tensions mounting between Iran and Saudi over Yemen, Pakistan and Iran have largely been at hostile conflicts with each other.
  • Operationalization of Chabahar port has caused panic button with Pakistan. With Chabahar adding to Gwadar port, CPEC the regional great game has taken a new turn. Chabahar is more than a port, it is a starting point of trade and transit corridor aiming to be parallel to CPEC. It is a vassal to India’s aims to improve trade with Russia and Central Asia as well.
  • The multifold gains of Chabahar port have forced diplomats and army generals in Pakistan to repair her relations with Iran. With India’s rising presence in West Asia and Pakistans reactionary actions to neutralise it, the old great game has just got a new veneer.