A people’s court must be open to public accountability
A judiciary that sees a role for itself in governance should also be accountable to the governed
The Supreme Court’s recent contempt judgement against Prashant Bhushan has again raised the question of what is considered legitimate criticism of India’s higher judiciary. But first, we must define the identity of the higher judiciary, and its new relationship with the public. The Supreme Court has evolved the judicial appointment system and enlarged its public interest litigation (PIL) jurisprudence well beyond its original constitutional mandate, effectively converting itself into a people’s court. This new identity requires new rules of accountability, criticism and feedback, to ensure checks and balances.