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Expressing his concern on lawyers abstaining from work, the Chief Justice of India, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde yesterday remarked that the practice of going on strikes does not go well with the image of the judiciary and the lawyers.
Instead, he called for the adoption of alternative ways by lawyers to “make a point”.
He remarked that the Bar and the Bench were equally interdependent as Judges can not do much unless lawyers perform their tasks and a lawyer is not effective unless he is heard. This interdependence makes the Bar and the Bench to work together and deliver justice to its ultimate beneficiaries, “We the People”, he added.
Justice Bobde was speaking at an event organized by the Bar Council of India to felicitate him on assuming the office of the Chief Justice of India.
The event which was held at the BCI Office was attended by Supreme Court Judges, Justices BR Gawai and Surya Kant along with Delhi High Court Judges, Chief Justice DN Patel, and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva. Members of the BCI and representatives of all the Bar Associations of the country also attended the event and felicitated the CJI.
Justice Bobde reminded the audience that the only legitimate sense of power for the judiciary was ‘public trust’.
“Therefore, it is important to ensure that people remain entrusted in us.“, Justice Bobde said,
He added that the alternative was extremely dangerous and would result in a situation that was far from the Rule of Law.
Referring to the Indian judiciary and its Bar, he added,
“When you go to other countries, you realize how lucky you are.”
Justice Bobde further iterated the motto of the Supreme Court, “Where there is righteousness, there is victory” and stated that it was the institution’s endeavour to uphold Rule of Law.
Justice Bobde took the opportunity to also speak on how “uniquely” the judiciary was placed. He stated that while the Legislature mainly functioned through debates in the Parliament, the function of the Executive was to implement the laws,
“It is only in a court that you do both. You debate, come to a conclusion and then carry out orders. There is an intertwining in this organ of the State.”, he said.
Justice Bobde also spoke on the “astronomical fee” charged by lawyers and opined that it was an individual choice. He nonetheless called for self-regulation when it becomes a hindrance to access to justice.
Justice Bobde asserted that the duty of a lawyer is to help the judge arrive at the truth.
“It is never too late to go back to the great traditions ad culture of the country to ensure that justice is done to the last man..”
Speaking on judicial time, Justice Bobde said,
“We don’t own the time. It belongs to the nation. We have to ensure that we don’t waste it on tactics, procedure and long-winded arguments.“
Judicial time must be properly and consciously utilized, he added as he suggested the adoption of alternative dispute redressal mechanisms.
Lastly, speaking on the appointment of judges and delay, Justice Bobde said,
“You have to trust us. We do our best to pick the judges.”
In his address, BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra referred to Justice Mishra as a “man of ideas”. He stated that it was the Bar’s task to protect the dignity of the judiciary and the office of the judges.
“..people come and go but this institution will remain. (We) will not allow anyone to make a mockery of the institution..”, Mishra said.
Mishra further added that the Bar expects some politeness from judges and said,
“..do whatever you want after hearing the counsel..”
Mishra also called for an increase in the retirement age of the Supreme Court and High Court Judges and involvement of the leaders of the Bar and Senior Advocates in the collegium for selection of judges.