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BJP points finger at judiciary

New Delhi, Sept. 30 (PTI): The BJP today called for a two-year cooling-off period for retiring judges before they are appointed to tribunals and commissions, saying “pre-retirement judgments” were often influenced by the desire for “post-retirement” jobs.

“Even though there is a retirement age... the judges are unwilling to retire,” leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said at a conference of lawyers organised by the party’s legal cell.

“Pre-retirement judgments are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job,” he said, without naming anyone.

Batting for judicial reforms, the BJP leader said he had no hesitation in supporting an increase in the tenure of judges. “But this clamour for post-retirement jobs is adversely affecting impartiality of the judiciary,” he said.

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari recommended a cooling-off period for judges. “I say this with a lot of responsibility that even before they retire, it is decided for Supreme Court and high court judges as to which commission they will go and join,” he said.

“My suggestion is that for two years after retirement, there should be a gap (before appointment), because otherwise the government can directly or indirectly influence the courts and the dream to have a independent, impartial and fair judiciary in the country would never actualise.”

Reacting to Jaitley’s statements, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said “rather than cast aspersions by insinuation, he should have the conviction of saying certain things squarely, if he knows them to be true”.

Being a former law minister, Jaitley should know that certain statutory bodies can only be headed by serving and retired judges, he said.