Apex court says it’s not a supercop

‘Everything can’t be done by court, like cleaning Ganga, Yamuna’

New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2014 11:48 pm

In a rare candid admission, the Supreme Court on Friday said it was not a “supercop” nor it believed that all its directions could be implemented to the hilt.

“Don’t convert the Supreme Court into a supercop… we know it is not. It is meant for laying down guidelines and issuing directives to uphold constitutional mandates,” observed a Bench of Justices A K Patnaik and F M I Kalifulla. The Bench was hearing an application by PIL petitioner Avishek Goenka, who wanted the court to appoint a retired SC judge as an independent authority to oversee that court’s verdict on removing tinted glasses and films from vehicles are duly complied with. Goenka asserted that the court must intervene in the wake of recent incidents of rape in Delhi, Haryana and West Bengal where cars with tinted glasses and films were used in committing crimes.

“Do you think that all our orders can be implemented fully? At least I am 100 per cent sure that everything cannot be done by the Supreme Court… like cleaning Ganga and Yamuna rivers. We do pass directions when matters come to us but we cannot monitor everything on a daily basis,” said Justice Patnaik.
Justice Patnaik then narrated how and why he chose not to hear the case relating to cleaning of Yamuna — an issue that was suo motu taken up by SC in 1994 and array of directions were passed to several authorities ever since.
“Cleaning of Yamuna matter came before me but I knew I could not hear it. I hence requested that the matter be listed before a Bench, which thinks it can do so,” he said. Justice Patnaik then asked Justice Kalifulla if he thought he could get the river cleaned. “I also think like my brother judge,” replied Justice Kalifulla.
Ironically, on the same day, a Bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam admitted a PIL on preventing river Ganga from getting polluted. This Bench issued notices to the Centre and states of Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal on the PIL seeking prohibition against throwing waste material from factories into Ganga and check pollution.
Meanwhile, Goenka, on his part sought to convince the court, complaining about deployment of police personnel for VIP security but expressing inability to have adequate force to remove tinted glasses and films.
Unimpressed, the Bench told him that the implementation was to be done by the government authorities and if they fail to do so, courts do not lose their credibility.
It also took exception to Goenka’s prayer to appoint a retired apex court for monitoring. “A retired Supreme Court judge is not meant for this. Don’t convert him into an inspector of police,” it said.

‘Stop eating onions to control its price’

Ordinarily dealing with serious legal issues, the Supreme Court Friday had to bear with a PIL that asked the court to regulate sale of onions and other vegetables to check their shooting prices. A Bench led by Justice B S Chauhan was understandably brusque in reply: “Selling onions and potatoes is not the job of the court.” Dismissing the PIL, the Bench warned petitioner Vishnu Pratap Singh against burdening the court with such pleas. “Onion is not oxygen that you cannot live without it. You stop eating onions for two months and its price would come under control,” it said. ENS

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