Judges' verdicts are influenced by post-retirement jobs: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Arun Jaitley, former Law Minister, has shared a scathing assessment of judges.  

"There are two kinds of judges - those who know the law and those who know the Law Minister," the BJP leader said over the weekend at a conference organized by the party's legal cell. "We are the only country in the world where judges appoint judges," he said, adding, "Even though there is a retirement age, judges are not willing to retire. "Pre-retirement judgements are influenced by post-retirement jobs."

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari suggested a two-year wait should be mandatory for judges after they retire and before they are appointed to judicial commissions or tribunals.

"My suggestion is that for two years after retirement, there should be a gap (before appointment), because otherwise the government can directly or indirectly influence the courts and the dream to have an independent, impartial and fair judiciary in the country would never actualise," Mr Gadkari said.

Reacting to Mr Jaitley's statements, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "rather than cast aspersions by insinuation, he should have the conviction of saying certain things squarely, if he knows them to be true."

"Being a former law minister, Mr Jaitley should know that certain statutory bodies can only be headed by serving and retired judges," Mr Tewari said.

Mr Jaitley also spoke in favour of creating a National Judicial Commission which would have representatives of the judiciary, government and civil society to look after matters related to appointments and complaints against judges.

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the country's information commissions - the national commission is flanked by one in every state- must be headed by either a retired or serving judge from a high court or the Supreme Court.  Information commissions handle thousands of applications filed by the public under the Right to Information Act, which allows access to government documents.  The judgement also said that every application or petition should be heard by two people -one of who must be a retired or serving judge or a lawyer with 20 years of experience. The verdict has been criticized for serving as an employment scheme for judges.

(With agency inputs)