Amid serious concern over corruption in the judiciary, Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia on Saturday asked politicians not to protect corrupt judges. And he advised judges to avoid socialising with lawyers, litigants and politicians.
“We need a clean man in black robe to uphold the independence and integrity of the judiciary,” the CJI said at the fifth MC Setalvad memorial lecture.
“Internal interference from a high-ranking judge which, if resisted, leads to a lower-ranking judge being transferred or denied promotion also needs to be deprecated. Similarly, political protection should not be given to corrupt judges,” Kapadia said.
The only attempt to remove a judge in the last 60 years failed in 1993 when the ruling Congress refused to back the motion to impeach justice V Ramaswamy of the Supreme Court.
The strong remarks of the CJI, known to be a man of few words, come at a time when Sikkim high court chief justice PD Dinakaran and Calcutta high court’s justice Soumitra Sen are facing impeachment proceedings, in which the political class will finally decide their fate.
Advising self-restraint, Kapadia said: “A judge must choose to be a little aloof and isolated from the community at large.”
“He should not be in contact with lawyers, individuals or political parties, their leaders or ministers, unless on purely social occasions,” CJI Kapadia said, adding that judges should not accept any type of patronage. “Judges must keep the part of impartial, objective, fearless and independent justice alive."
The CJI said he, personally, avoided socializing, even preferring not to take membership at any golf club as it would mean mingling with advocates, politicians and the like.
Calling himself "an eternal optimist", Kapadia said: "I can see that in future things are going to improve as far as integrity and credibility of the Supreme Court is concerned."