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Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra today said that certain elements are trying to weaken the judiciary but “we must not succumb to them”.
Delivering his address on Independence day after unfurling the Tricolour flag at the Supreme Court Lawns, CJI Misra said that a lot has been spoken about the judiciary and the judicial system in recent past. He said,
“To criticise, attack and destroy a system is quite easy. What is difficult and challenging is to transform it into a performing one… constructive steps need to be taken with a positive mindset of reform; and concrete reforms must be undertaken with rationality, maturity, responsibility and composure”
For the judiciary to reach “higher and greater heights”, it is important for everyone involved to be “productive rather than counterproductive”, he said.
CJI Misra then proceeded to state that some elements are trying to weaken the institution but we must not succumb to them.
“There may be some elements who may endeavour to weaken the institution but we must refuse to succumb to them.”
In what could be perceived as a veiled response to the Press Conference of January 12, CJI Misra said,
“It is essential that one should work hard in silence and with utmost sincerity and his work shall make the noise, I use noise the word noise in a symbolical sense.”
Interestingly, Justice Ranjan Gogoi in his Ramnath Goenka lecture in July this year and had said that “independent journalists and noisy judges” are the need of the hour in the country.
Ending his address today on a philosophical note, CJI Misra said that the judiciary serves the Lady of Justice who holds the scales of a balance and anyone who tries to create an imbalance in the delivery of justice, upsets the lady of justice.
“We have to serve the lady of justice, the queen of justice. She holds the scales of justice symbolising that delivering justice has to be balanced. When the queen of justice sheds tears, all of us shed tears.”
Attorney General for India KK Venugopal, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Vikas Singh also spoke during the function.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while speaking on the role of Judiciary in delivering justice, said that it is because of the judiciary that every Indian today knows the worth of her rights. Whenever there is a question about the rights of the marginalised, question of abuse of power or corruption or such, the judiciary must intervene, Prasad said.
However, he was also quick to add,
“Governance must be left to those elected to govern the country. If a law is found to be wrong or a bad law then the Courts must intervene.”
Speaking on the subject of PILs, the Law Minister said that while the Court is imposing huge amount as costs in PILs, “the larger perspective of PILs should not be lost”. He made a case for the need to have a system of audit to check frivolous PILs.
AG KK Venugopal, on taking the dais, spoke about the issue of overcrowding in the courts and built a case for live-streaming of proceedings stating that it would considerably reduce the crowd inside courtrooms during the pendency of PILs.
Vikas Singh chose to speak about the dignity and integrity of judiciary as an institution in independent India. Speaking on separation of powers, Singh opined that in the day-to-day functions of the Court, the line separating the executive and judiciary “is getting blurred”.
He pointed out that the judiciary is the only institution where the proceedings are transparent and are carried out in front of everybody in an open Court system. Singh highlighted that everything said and observed in a courtroom is reported by the media.
“Every word spoken in the Court is reported in media and these observations can’t be expunged. No oral observations should be made which would damage or lower the prestige of this institution.”
The event was also attended by Justices Madan Lokur, Indira Banerjee, Deepak Gupta, SA Bobde, Ashok Bhushan and Indu Malhotra as well as Eminent Jurists Soli Sorabji and Fali Nariman.