Making a strong statement on the integrity of Indian judiciary, the Chief Justice of India, SH Kapadia on Sunday said judges of integrity need not fear the National Judicial Commission or a Judicial Accountability Bill.
“Judicial integrity shall be above judicial independence,” Kapadia said. “The judicial accountability bill is on the anvil. We need a system of checks and balances,” he added.
Talking about the adversarial attitude between the judiciary and the legislature, Kapadia, citing an old case, said judicial overreach was a topic of debate and criticism even when the Bombay high court came into existence.
Kapadia was speaking at a function to mark the beginning of the sesquicentennial (150th year) celebrations of the Bombay high court. The occasion was graced by Union law minister Salman Khurshid, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, chief justice of Bombay high court Mohit Shah and a few Supreme Court judges.
Stating that India has a slight edge over China because of our liberal legal system, Khurshid, said this advantage should be preserved. Chavan too brushed upon the topic of China, stating that both are rising powers.
“It’s going to be India and China in the future,” Chavan said. “We have to build ourselves into a great economy with human resources alone,” he added.
Khurshid stated that the high court, which commenced its work in 1862, is the best symbol of our commitment to judicial independence. “There are still many more heights to be captured. The challenge of appointing more judges, better infrastructure and faster and affordable justice are some of them,” Khurshid added.
Chavan called for cooperation between the two pillars because challenges such as terrorism cannot be solved at the executive level alone, he said.
Kapadia also launched a facility for online filing of petitions. It would do away with the need to stand in long queues during fixed hours for filing petition.
The function was held at the newly-refurbished central courtroom, where Bal Gangadhar Tilak was held guilty for sedition in 1909.