Are 5-star activists driving courts… look within: PM Modi to judges

Judges are chosen for divine work; they do what God has entrusted them with, says PM Modi.

By: Express Web Desk Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: April 6, 2015 9:55 am
Narendra Modi, H L dattu, Modi judges meet Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at joint conference of chief ministers of states and chief Justices of the High Courts in New Delhi on Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

Calling upon the judiciary to have an internal mechanism for self-assessment and introspection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and other judges to reflect if “five-star activists” and “perception” were driving the judiciary today.

ALSO READ: Executive and judiciary siblings, must work together, says CJI Dattu 

Addressing a joint conference of chief justices and chief ministers from across the country in New Delhi, Modi said it was time the judiciary evolved an internal mechanism of self-assessment, since judges were “not as lucky as politicians”, who are under “constant scrutiny”.

ALSO READ: Row over Good Friday meet was avoidable, says CJI Dattu

The PM’s statements come at a time when the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is expected to replace the collegium system of appointing judges, giving a greater say to the executive in the process.

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Asking judiciary to introspect whether “five-star activists” were driving it, Modi said, “It is never too difficult to deliver justice within the boundaries of the law and Constitution. But it is very difficult to find the truth between perception and reality. It must be pondered over whether five-star activists are driving the judiciary today… if havoc is created to drive the judiciary. It has become difficult to deliver justice in an atmosphere of perception.”

 

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi (L,) Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at joint conference of chief ministers of states and chief Justices of the High Courts in New Delhi on Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi) Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi (L,) Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a joint conference of chief ministers of states and chief Justices of the High Courts in New Delhi on Sunday. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

The PM’s statements come at a time when the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is expected to replace the collegium system of appointing judges, giving a greater say to the executive in the process.

Asking judiciary to introspect whether “five-star activists” were driving it, Modi said, “It is never too difficult to deliver justice within the boundaries of the law and Constitution. But it is very difficult to find the truth between perception and reality. It must be pondered over whether five-star activists are driving the judiciary today… if havoc is created to drive the judiciary. It has become difficult to deliver justice in an atmosphere of perception.”

A judge is not completely insular today, the PM said. “A judge is worried over what is happening outside and thinks if a judgment should be delivered one way or the other. It is imperative to strengthen the hands of the judiciary. Be it people in the government or in the media or the issue of bail of five-star activists, we will cause trouble to ourselves if we don’t help strengthen the judiciary.”

Modi gave the example of an incident where, he said, a high court had to face severe electricity cuts perhaps because a “five-star activist” had got a restraint order from a court against erecting an electric pole.

Seeking in-built checks, Modi noted that the judiciary was considered “divine” and next only to God. “If we as a government make mistakes, there is a forum for correction and that is you (judiciary). But if you commit mistakes, nothing will survive… It is time to evolve an in-built mechanism for self-assessment and introspection. Let a dynamic mechanism be developed without any interference of the government or any politician. If we don’t evolve such a system, the country will suffer in a big way in case the faith people have in this institution is shaken,” he said.

Admitting that setting up such a system was a “difficult task”, the PM stressed again that “there is always a possibility of downfall if institutional networks are not made strong, irrespective of individuals being above suspicion”.

While criticism of the judiciary was seldom heard from outside, Modi went on to point out, politicians were under constant vigil even though they had themselves framed laws to check their actions.

“I consider myself fortunate that I am from a community that is under constant scrutiny. Although my community has often been smeared, the leaders who governed this country have created a large number of institutions to bind us down. The Election Commission’s independence binds us but we did create it. RTI also binds us. Not only this, we are also going to have Lokpal and it would bind us, but we still want it,” he said.

Modi also regretted the dismal performance of tribunals, numbering more than a hundred and headed usually by retired judges of the higher judiciary, asking if this didn’t call for a review. Asking judges to examine their efficacy, the PM told them to decide whether so many tribunals were required.

“It is imperative to review their performance and let nobody take any adversarial position on it. Let us all work in tandem. If we can do this well, we can administer the justice delivery system better.”

Maintaining that law is supreme, the PM also emphasised on the need to have better drafts for legislations, with minimum grey areas, so that courts do not nullify decisions by authorities in future interpretation of statutes. He expressed his commitment to removal of obsolete laws.

Modi also asserted the need to prepare for emerging areas of litigation such as maritime law and cyber crime, and said Lok Adalats were an effective way of dispensing justice and should be strengthened further. He also stressed the importance of family courts.

Asking all stakeholders to strive for strengthening the judiciary, Modi promised that his government would ensure it faced no financial crunch as regards infrastructural needs. Modi also said that under the Digital India programme, technology should be deployed to bring about a qualitative change in the judiciary.

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  1. S
    Shankar
    Apr 6, 2015 at 10:51 am
    When justice sadasivam was appointed as governor immediately after retirement when eye brows were raised. Surely there are are many equally qualified or more such intellectuals available. Then why pick on him....??????
    Reply
    1. J
      Janaki Narayanan
      Apr 6, 2015 at 8:24 am
      Pity, the editorial team today has come to such low standards.
      Reply
      1. P
        PONNALURI RAMACHANDR
        Apr 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm
        it is in the interest of the nation the Judiciary and executive should respect and compliment each other for greater success...hope some thing good outcome will emerge from the conference
        Reply
        1. R
          Ruth Mesa
          Apr 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm
          Many of UPA blessed 34 Convicted PF scam judges are still working?
          Reply
          1. A
            ashok shital
            Apr 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm
            I personally do not agree with the acerbic remarks of our PM on Judiciary since our Executive is much more tainted than our Judiciary.
            Reply
            1. A
              Arvind
              Apr 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm
              Executives and Judiciary must go hand in hand(Not for corruption) in uplifting Standard of people specially poor peoplemon man must feel they are protected by both.However at present Common man does not want to go to court or executives to redress his grievances if any.Time has come for both to think whether they serve Aam Aadmi or they serve their own interest first.
              Reply
              1. A
                A.Chandramouliswaran
                Apr 5, 2015 at 1:52 pm
                The speech of the Prime Minister was a mastery in that it was respectful of the judiciary even it was critical of it by pointing out the dangers it faces.
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                1. A
                  Annu Chopra
                  Apr 5, 2015 at 11:49 am
                  SAVE HINDU WOMEN & MEN FROM UN-HINDU LAWS : JUDICIARY IS BREAKING UP FAMILIES AND CREATING 65000 WIDOWS PER YAER If any law which is supposed to protect women ends up making them widows, why authorities adamantly refuse to change such atrocious and stupid laws ? Even Hon'ble SC judge admits that disgruntled wives are using 498a/dv/125 as a weapon , wives are legal terrorists ,up to 85% cases of dowry/dv/105 are false etc etc.; 90 year old parents, 3-4 years old kids and even neighbors are being jailed without trial under these barbaric laws , thereby creating traumatic , terrorizing situation in families. Yet, the govt. refuses to listen and merrily ignores the fact that ~65000 widows are being created by these laws due to 65000 forced suicides by men EVERY YEAR as per NRCB stats. Since Govt cares only for women , they should make 498a bailable ( for non-dowry death cases)at least for the sake of avoiding creation of widows!! Iss Nakkarkhane me tooti ki awaaj kya koyi sunega?? Will anyone listen to cries of widows in the wilderness?
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sudhakar
                    Apr 6, 2015 at 7:55 pm
                    Should anyone following the principles of 'bahujan hitaay, bahujan sukhaay' and 'vasudhaiw kutumbakam' be discouraged?
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      Damaru Prasad
                      Apr 5, 2015 at 3:25 pm
                      Rapid economic development will be meaningless while judges keep on having a ball. Pay them on hourly basis and set 12 hours working day without a break.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        Damaru Prasad
                        Apr 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm
                        Yes who does not know justice is traded at the price of one kilogram of choice mutton in India? Modi was apparently being gentle in giving expression to universal perception. Remedy: hanging a judge on the nearest electricity pole.
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                          ASHOK KUMAR
                          Apr 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm
                          Yatha Raha tatha Praja. Let politicians , the so called peoples representatives show and set good examples, everything will be alright , right from Police Stations to Judicial Courts. Only sermons will not do, Modiji.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            kumar
                            Apr 5, 2015 at 3:16 pm
                            Every word Modi said is full of meaning - worth reading and practicing.Great speech!
                            Reply
                            1. G
                              Ganesh
                              Apr 5, 2015 at 12:09 pm
                              Just like the judiciary cleared the m murderer , the courts should clear all cases against the BJP MPs.
                              Reply
                              1. G
                                Gopal
                                Apr 5, 2015 at 4:14 pm
                                Modi is being too kind to the judiciary. It is arrogant and lacks any mechanism for self correction. In fact former judge Katju has pointed out how the court has protected the corrupt within themselves. Just as the laws are poorly written, the verdicts are poorly written as well. And the briefs prepared by the lawyers are also poorly written. The generally low quality of the legal establishment is a national problem.
                                Reply
                                1. G
                                  Gopal
                                  Apr 5, 2015 at 4:17 pm
                                  Not one word has been spoken about PILs which has created a nefarious nexus between outside groups with agendas and judges with agendas to indulge in politics.
                                  Reply
                                  1. J
                                    Jagdish Maratha
                                    Apr 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm
                                    It is only Supreme Court which have maintained it's standards. otherwise india is no different than stan...so Mr. Feku...Please spare the supreme court for the future of our country.....
                                    Reply
                                    1. J
                                      Jagdish Maratha
                                      Apr 5, 2015 at 11:26 am
                                      what a day...A criminal is giving advice to supreme court judges...wah re democracy
                                      Reply
                                      1. K
                                        kan g
                                        Apr 6, 2015 at 11:59 am
                                        a prime minister is suggesting the judiciary how to act, strange. perhaps he is too scared of teestha setlavad who he fears will reveal his past at some time if he will not monitor the supreme court judges. he had monitored the gujrat judges successfully.
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                                          Rajesh Mohanty
                                          Apr 6, 2015 at 10:31 am
                                          By 5 star activists, PM surely meant Teesta. But what about Amit Shah? Is he not a 5 Star accused?
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                                            K N
                                            Apr 6, 2015 at 10:02 am
                                            Judicial activism has entered every where leaving their core responsibility .The specter of INDISCIPLINE and INSUBBORDINATION is outcome of judicial intervention in administrative domain .
                                            Reply
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