Katju questions definition of defamation in judiciary

  • Soibam Rocky Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2014 00:08 IST

Who is defaming judiciary - judges involved in corruption or those exposing it? Former Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India chairman justice Markandey Katju has raised the question in his blog.

In his blog entry on Monday, justice Katju wrote: "A high judicial authority recently said that some people are trying to defame the judiciary. Perhaps he was alluding to me. So doing corruption by Judges does not defame the judiciary, but exposing such corruption defames it. This is a new definition of defamation!"

While the legal fraternity does not necessarily agree with justice Katju's "new definition of defamation", they concur that the judiciary needs to clean the "dirt under its carpet."

Justice RS Sodhi, former Delhi High Court judge, says corruption is a serious issue but must be handled carefully. "Exposing corruption per se is absolutely within acceptable norms of disclosure. But to keep on saying there is corruption in the judiciary without having the courage to name or pinpoint the person in useless," Justice Sodhi said.

"We must know the horses that are dirtying in the shed and get rid of them," he remarked.

Others say that corruption is a difficult malaise to hide when judges are constantly in the public eye. "Reputation of judges is already known to the people. These corrupt judges can hide their action for some time, but the bar and bench and the litigants know who is corrupt and who is honest," said justice SN Dhingra.

"Judiciary has not been rectifying itself in the past and has been putting the dirt under the carpet," he said adding, "Corrupt judges should be exposed."

Favouring a change from the current system of appointing judges by the collegium, senior counsel Vikas Singh said, "A lot of nepotism and other consideration come into play while appointing judges. The existing collegium system should be done away with."

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