Judiciary should be independent not just from politics but also from public sentiment and judges should deliver justice as per law and not according to the opinion of the majority, chief justice of India SH Kapadia said on Saturday.
“Apart from independence from politics, judiciary also needs independence from popular interests,” the CJI said taking strong exception to public pressure exerted on judges deciding important cases.
“If an order is not in favour of a particular group then the judge faces backlash,” he said. “An atmosphere is created whereby pressure is exerted on the judge,” he added while delivering the 9th Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture, in Mumbai.
Kapadia also spoke against a systematic effort to malign the judiciary’s image. “Well-founded groups are trying to influence public that the judiciary is not much different from politics,” he said, quoting a speech of the chief justice of Canada.
The CJI said judicial accountability is a facet of judicial independence and the Judicial Accountability Bill should be in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution of India.
“When people say there are several loopholes in law, I agree, but the problem arises when there are loopholes in our (judges’) character, too.”
Referring to reports that the bill has upset a few judges, Kapadia said those having “judicial integrity” should not worry. Advising judges to keep themselves up-to-date on current affairs, the CJI said, “Courts should realise the consequences of their judgements. In today’s time law cannot be separated from economics and finance.
He criticised lawyers, too. “Senior lawyers are busy making money from Mondays to Fridays. They don't contribute to development of law because of which the burden falls on Judges. Judges have to fall back on foreign jurisprudence in absence of meaning contribution from India,” said the CJI.