Post-retirement appointments: a danger to judicial independence

Source– The post is based on the article “Post-retirement appointments: a danger to judicial independence” published in The Hindu on 16th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Judiciary

Relevance– Appointment of judges

News– Justice S. Abdul Nazeer has been appointed Governor of Andhra Pradesh Within a month of retiring from the Supreme Court of India.

Since 2014, he is the third Supreme Court judge who has received a high-profile political appointment soon after retirement.

Why are judges given political appointments after retirement?

This is a signal to judges that they will be suitably awarded if they give decisions favouring the government.

The government weakens the judiciary through political appointments. Earlier governments with majoritarian governments have also done it. They want to consolidate their power.

What is the way forward for judges taking post-retirement benefits?

The larger objective for any reasonable executive should be to ensure the independence of the other arms of the governing mechanism.

Judges should show moral responsibility and character. Judges must recognise that handouts from the government, in the form of such political appointments are not one-way. It is based on a give and take approach.

The Indian judiciary must distinguish between political favours and other post-retirement employment opportunities.

There needs to be a demarcation between roles where the presence of a judicial authority is  valuable and even necessary, such as tribunal and where it is not.

Ideally, the judicial community should take a concerted decision on this. They should agree that judges should not take up any appointments upon retirement stemming from political patronage.

A cooling period of about two years should be considered a mandatory minimum before a judge agrees to take on any post-retirement adjudicatory role.

Print Friendly and PDF