‘No intent to regulate social media, but can’t allow anybody to play havoc with peace’

How do you plan to fill vacancies in the higher judiciary when there are few takers for judgeship from among good lawyers?

That is why the National Judicial Appointments Commission is required, since it is believed in certain circles that our present system of making appointments to higher judiciary suffers from certain inadequacies. There are various reasons for the large number of vacancies in high courts, which are not at all justified. We need to consider measures that can hasten appointments to the higher judiciary... Unfortunately, it is true that not many fine lawyers are ready to join the bench. We have to convince them to take up this job as a service to the nation and with a sense of pride.

Electoral reforms are awaiting legislative or administrative action due to absence of a political consensus. Have you any plans on this?

There is overwhelming support in the public for the need to keep out or weed out undesirable elements, particularly those with criminal antecedents, from our legislatures. There is also a strong feeling that the use of money and muscle power needs to be minimised, if not altogether weeded out, from the political system so that deserving and clean candidates can enter public life. There have been various committees since Independence that have gone into this issue. I have recently written to the Law Commission, asking it to go through all suggestions and come up with the best suggestions within three months so that we can begin consultations with parties to build a broader consensus.

There has been criticism that the government is trying to censor the media and tap citizens' conversations. Would you agree?

I am of the view that the directions issued by the Supreme Court while interpreting Article 21 are not being observed at times. Otherwise how can, as one newspaper report says, there be 10,000 tappings in 90 days? And, if this is true, it means that such extensive tapping has become necessary, which may well be the case, then we have a lot of reason to be fearful and apprehensive... something is really wrong with the security apparatus. Having said that, let me emphasise that intrusion into the privacy domain must only (happen) when there is a strong, prima facie case. Otherwise, we will end up making a mockery of the citizens' right to privacy.

... contd.

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