Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi rued that the office of the judge in the higher judiciary was losing its aura and majesty and that this was keeping youths away from taking up the job of a judge.
Speaking at a farewell hosted by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) for Justice Kurian Joseph, who retired on Thursday, the CJI said, “I’m afraid, I’m apprehensive. The younger lot in the Bar are not willing to become judges. This is something that was happening in the bigger High Courts, Bombay particularly. Today this feeling is spreading to the smaller High Courts. Me and my colleagues in the Collegium are working day in and day out to find the right man. I don’t know how far we are successful.”
He added, “At the end of the day, it’s the aura and majesty of the office of the judge that attracts the talent in the Bar, not the money. Not the sacrifice in terms of money. They are willing to make that.”
Seeking the Bar’s cooperation, he said. “Please appreciate the compulsions, the hard work and the commitment and the day in and day out of readings that the judges do. Your cooperation, your kindness and your understanding of the office and the performance and work of a judge can go a long way in enhancing the aura and majesty of the office and attract the younger lot from the Bar.”
Justice Joseph had a word of advice for his colleagues — recognise that those who make the law also know the requirements under the Constitution and what public morality and constitutional morality is.
“People who make law also are aware of the public interest, they are also conscious of the public morality, they are also in the know of the constitutional morality. So let us concede that they have made law consciously in public interest and keeping in mind the constitutional morality,” he said, addressing the gathering at the farewell. “They know the pulse of the people better than the judges appointed in courts.”
Pointing out that India was a country of vast diversity, he urged those who interpret the Constitution to keep this diversity in mind while they do their job. Justice Joseph also said that “compassion from the court is not the charity of a judge. It is the bounden duty of a Constitutional court”.
He added “that is what the Constitution of India is. If you look at the way the Constitution of India has treated women, children, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, youth, unemployed poor, illiterate — all these have been identified in such a way that they are the people in the Constitution who constitute we the people and for whom it is this institution should deal with compassion.”