Context: Justice N. V Ramana was the 4th CJI who retired in the last days. He was the second CJI from Andhra Pradesh. His period has been the period of many benchmark judgments. Hence His period, after his retirement should be estimated
After the K. Subbarao, N. V Ramana was the CJI from Andhra Pradesh. He was appointed as a judge in 2000 in the High court ( NDA was in government ) and in the supreme court in Feb 2014 (At the time of the UPA government)
One of the most striking flaws of the leadership of Justice Ramana was exposed in his farewell comment where he accepted and acknowledged and even apologized for the breakdown of the listing and posting of cases speaks to a far deeper institutional malaise
Judiciary is the most significant pillar of democracy. If the public loses all its hope, the public sees towards Judiciary with high hope. Therefore, the responsibility and accountability of the Judiciary increase more in comparison to other institutions of the democracy
Evaluation of Justice Ramana
When Justice Ramana took charge as the CJI, SC was considerably weakened as an institution. After the nomination of Rajya Sabha member of Ranjan Gogoi, ex CJI, the judiciary as an institution had become weak and incredible up to a certain extent. After the appointment of Ramana, he once successfully brought back the lost prestige and credibility of the Judiciary. Orders on bail under UAPA, fixing the gap in dowry death law, medical assistance to Siddhique Kappan and powerful speeches on the criticism, and dissent in a democracy are important elements through which he successfully brought back the prestige of CJI and Judiciary
But in some manner his judicial contribution was disappointing. His order keeping the sedition law was most disappointing. His ignorance of constitutional questions that were political minefields like a case of electoral bonds, dilution of article 370, the constitutional validity of citizenship, the Hijab ban in school, and reservation for EWS was the big drawback of his administration. Because these were the most important subject for the Indian democracy and these should be listed and resolved on urgent bases
The hearing on Pegasus was also a big and important issue for democracy. How only very limited parts of the pegasus committee’s report were revealed continues the troubling trend of secrecy and opaqueness in fact-finding in such a manner. This is a big failure of the Judiciary.
For the last few days, the debate on the freebies is going on. Justice Ramna, in his tenure, could not give any decision on this also.
Bright Spot in administration
The period of Justice Raman would be remembered as a good administrator. Before his appointment, there was a deadlock of collegium recommendations. He resolved these deals lock. Justice Rama also ended up ensuring that India will have its first CJI. The failure to elevate Justice Akil Kureshi to the Supreme court despite his seniority, performance, and reputation and the decision to transfer Justice Sahib Banerji from being the Chief justice of the Madras High court to the Meghalaya High court needed an answer that never come
Since Judiciary is also a democratic institution so the functioning of the Judiciary should be also elevated on the ground of its efficiency and partiality. However, the decisions of the Judiciary should not be criticized because it would hamper the credibility and the prestige of the Judiciary but They should be evaluated. As per the above discussion, the period of NV Ramana would be remembered in history for this better administration, but simultaneously this period would also be remembered for ignoring the most important issues for Indian democracy.