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Independence of judiciary is non-negotiable, says CJI R M Lodha

The CJI said that judges shouldn't be tempted or tried to be pleased, adding that it is our responsibility to keep judiciary corruption-free.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
Updated: September 14, 2014 11:17:15 am
RM-lodha_m R M Lodha made these observations while speaking on independent judiciary and corruption in judiciary at the Rule of Law Convention. (Source: Express archives)
Although he chose not to comment on the government’s new law that proposes to scrap the collegium system for judges’ appointment, Chief Justice of India R M Lodha on Saturday said that judiciary’s “inherent strength” was capable of warding off attempts to tinker with its independence.

“I don’t intend to discuss about the Bills passed by Parliament but will speak about something dearest to me — independence of  judiciary. Justice Lodha said the people acknowledged that the judiciary was such an organ of the democracy whose institutional independence cannot be compromised with.

“I am sure and more than confident that independence of judiciary will be maintained at any cost by anyone and everyone to whom the judiciary is dear. It is the independence of the judiciary that leads to confidence in the mind of public that it will come to their aid and rescue if any wrong is committed by executive,” said the CJI.

Justice Lodha, who was speaking at a conclave organised by the Bar Association of India on the ‘Rule of Law’, said he was certain that a “strong rule of law” warranted an independent judiciary.

The CJI also spoke on corruption in the judiciary, and described it as the “worst form of ailment in the thriving democracy”. “As economy and industry grow, corruption also grows. With the growing corruption, it is very important that the judiciary is corruption-free.

It entails impunity if there is any amount of corruption in judiciary,” he said.

Justice Lodha said the people should not do anything that encourages corruption in judiciary. “There are people who play all sorts of tricks on judges and are prepared to tempt judges and please those who man judiciary. We have to ensure that corruption is eradicated in all forms in judiciary,” he said. The CJI appealed to the lawyers to help guarantee purity in administration of justice system.

Also speaking at the function, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi praised the CJI for elevating two lawyers to the Bench as Supreme Court judges. Justices Rohinton F Nariman and U U Lalit — noted lawyers — were recently appointed as judges.

“I am grateful to the CJI for two appointments from the Bar to the Bench. This singular act is one of the most significant acts in the past 10-15 years and I hope that future CJIs will keep this tradition alive. This singular act by the CJI is closest to my heart,” said Rohatgi.

Notably, the two appointments, for which the government’s top law officer was thanking the CJI, were made by the collegium that is sought to be replaced by a new system of appointing judges wherein the executive is likely to have a better say.

Senior advocate Anil B Divan, K N Bhat, and BAI office bearers advocates Priya Hingorani and Prashant Kumar also spoke on the occasion, pointing out the role of the judiciary in fulfilling the constitutional promise of the rule of law in the country.

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