Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India N V Ramana to maintain social diversity and social justice in the appointment of the judges in High Courts and Supreme Court and to establish permanent regional benches of the apex court in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai.
Stalin also urged on Thursday, May 12, to initiate appropriate steps to declare Tamil as the official language of the Madras High Court and its bench, besides English.
In an open letter detailing and discussing the demands regarding the functioning of the judiciary, Stalin said it is important that the Supreme Court's and High Court's composition reflects the diverse and pluralistic society of the country. "...we must not lose sight of the fact that the judicial branch also must reflect the spirit of Co-operative Federalism enshrined in our Constitution," he wrote in the letter.
"For the past few years, we have been witnessing declining representation from all the sections of the society in the higher judiciary, leading to a 'diversity deficit'. Judicial diversity is fundamental to the quality of the judging. A broad-based, heterogeneous group of Judges representing various sections of the society as a whole alone can reflect the views and values of society as a whole, particularly on issues involving historical, traditional, linguistic and cultural matters. This is because they would provide wider perspectives since the group of Judges would naturally interpret and enforce the law based on their multi various backgrounds," the letter read.
Establishment Of Permanent Regional Benches Of SC
Another issue that the CM raised, citing as another federal character which must reflect in the judiciary, is the Permanent Regional Benches of the Supreme Court of India. "When the Constitution was enacted, it was in the contemplation of the framers of the Constitution that all citizens of this country, rich or poor, must have direct access to the Court. That is why they enacted Article 32, a privilege not available in most other countries," he wrote in the letter.
"While there are 25 High Courts across the nation, it is seen from data that the number of appeals being filed in the Supreme Court is more from States around the NCR region than States located further away from Delhi," the letter read.
He said that the legislature has been conscious of its high time to establish Permanent Regional Benches and recalled that the Standing Committees of Parliament had recommended the same in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and most recently in 2021.
Official Language of The High Courts
The last aspect raised by the TN chief minister as the importance of co-operative federalism is the official language of the High Courts. He noted that in four HCs, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Hindi had been authorised as the official language in addition to English.
He asked what impedes making the official language of other States the official language of the HC, in addition to English?
"In this regard, I wish to inform that State has taken several initiatives to bring out standard books on Law in Tamil and moreover as a language that is both Classical and a vibrant modern language it would be perfectly suitable to be used in the High Court," the letter read.
Further Stalin requested steps to be taken to declare Tamil, which is the official language of the Government of the State, as the official language of the High Court of Judicature at Madras and its Bench at Madurai, in addition to English.
In a letter addressed to the PM and CJI, the CM reiterated the three demands that he had raised in his speech at the Madras high court function in Chennai on April 23.