Government asked to finalise policy on ex-judges’ advice

February 29th, 2012 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the central government to evolve a uniform policy, within three months, on legal opinions given by former Supreme Court judges to litigants.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also directed its registry not to accept and list petitions for hearing if they contain opinions of retired Supreme Court judges.

The direction of the court came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Common Cause through advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking a ban on the practice of former Supreme Court judges giving their legal opinions and advice to the litigants.

“Former apex court judges were violating the Constitution ‘in letter and spirit’ by tendering legal opinion, which was being produced in courts and now even before the investigative agencies and their legal views are being used by the litigants to influence findings (of probe agency) and the judgments,” the petition said.

It also sought prohibition against private practice by retired judges from high courts and the apex court who preside over tribunals or commissions and other quasi-judicial panels.

Bhushan said that if retired judges give any opinion in the case, it should not be used in the court. “The judges who give advice should personally mention that his advice should not be used in the court,” he suggested.

Disposing of the petition, the court, however, rejected the petitioner’s contention to pass an order stopping judges from giving legal advice.

Meanwhile, the central government’s counsel informed the court that the government has come out with a scheme on the issue of legal opinions given by former Supreme Court judges to litigants and it would be finalised shortly.

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