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Very important for judiciary to retain public’s trust, says CJI

Speaking at the felicitation by the Bar Council of India, the CJI had a word of caution: “Alternate possibilities are similar to Hobbesian State of nature, far removed from a society governed by ‘rule of law’.”

Chief Justice of india Sharad Arvind Bobde. Chief Justice of india Sharad Arvind Bobde.

Public trust is the “only legitimate source of power for judicial system“ and it is “very important for us to ensure that people must remain invested in us”, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said on Monday.

Speaking at the felicitation by the Bar Council of India, the CJI had a word of caution: “Alternate possibilities are similar to Hobbesian State of nature, far removed from a society governed by ‘rule of law’.”

CJI Bobde said “a strong, independent legal profession is sine qua non for rule of law” and “we are like trustees of one of the most important state power — i.e. judicial branch”.

The functions of the judiciary are “unique” in comparison to the legislature and the executive, he said, as “it is only in the judiciary that you have a marvellous combination of debates and execution”.

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CJI Bobde said, “The functions of the wings (of democracy) is undoubtedly complimenting to each other. The legislature cannot implement laws passed by it; they cannot apply it to individual cases. That task is left to the judiciary. In turn, the judiciary cannot execute all its orders. It needs the executive for this purpose.”

He said, “In fact, even our summons/warrants in criminal cases are served by the police. Within the judiciary there is equal interdependence: courts cannot do much unless lawyers perform their task of presenting cases and assisting the courts, and lawyers cannot be effective unless they are heard. It is this interdependence which makes the bench and bar cooperate with each other to deliver justice. As is the case with a trustee, we are required to take care of the health of the institution to the advantage of the beneficiary — in the present case the ‘People of India’.”

He said that the “legal duel” between lawyers and judges in the courtroom “isn’t a fight to finish. It is not about winning an argument; instead, it is a collaborative effort wherein both bar and bench are under an obligation to identify the best ways to do justice as per law. They are also required to act as a conscience keeper of one another. The critic has to be a socially responsible critic. We can’t afford to throw away the baby with the bath water. The processes of the Court are very argumentative but at the same time are required to be far removed from cacophony.”

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The CJI also said that “we must never forget that the judicial time isn’t a fiefdom of bar and bench” but “belongs to the people of India” and “we are under a constitutional obligation to optimally utilise it”.

“With litigation refusing to die like mythological Hydra, we must be very responsible before claiming or putting a charge over national adjudicative time,” CJI Bobde said, stressing the need to utilise Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques to settle disputes.

He also spoke on the need for starting courses for conferring a degree or diploma in mediation and added, “Perhaps there is also a need for a Judicial Academy in the lines of National Defence Academy”.

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The CJI also urged the Bar Council “to ensure that the bar must be reflective of diversities and the aspirations of India”, saying that changes in the legal profession and law are happening quickly.

“You are under a professionally ordained duty, to keep on reinventing yourself in the light of the realities and the demands of the time so that with each passing day, we become more efficient and effective,” he said.

First published on: 17-12-2019 at 04:12:09 am
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