A meeting between the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Cyriac Joseph, and the Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D. Kumaraswamy has, on Tuesday kicked up a tsunami in the sherbet.
“The meeting has lowered the dignity and independence of the judiciary and its noble tradition of keeping aloof from the executive,” the former minister H.N. Nanje Gowda has alleged: "When the State is the biggest litigant in the HC and the subordinate courts, and its executive actions are questioned by the people, such a meeting, regardless of what was discussed, is questionable.”
The CJ contends that he had not called on the CM but only attended a meeting to discuss issues concerning the judiciary. He says he does not share the perception that under no circumstances should he step into the Vidhana Soudha or talk to the CM. He says he believes in cordial relations between the judiciary, legislature and executive, and denies he was made to wait for 30 minutes at the Secretariat.
Questions: Should the CJ of the HC not meet the CM of a State under any circumstances? Should they meet in the former’s chambers or in the latter’s lair? Is the dignity of the judicial head lowered by meeting the executive head? And is the independence of the judiciary compromised by such an open interaction with the executive? Or are all these notions of independence bogus, when so much could be accomplished over the telephone if need be?