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Critical not to disturb fraternity of separation of powers, says President Kovind

The three organs of the state should be conscious of their liberty and strive to protect their autonomy, President Ram Nath Kovind said.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2017 17:25 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
President Kovind,Ram Nath Kovind,Constitution Day
President Ram Nath Kovind speaks at the inauguration of the Constitution Day celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday said it was critical not to disturb the fraternity of separation of powers and maintain a “delicate balance” while exploring the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature as they are all equal.

The three organs of the state should be conscious of their liberty and strive to protect their autonomy, he said.

However, they should be careful about not disturbing the fraternity of separation of powers “by even unknowingly intruding into the domain of either of the two other branches”, the president said.

“It is critical to keep this intricate and delicate balance in mind when exploring the relationship between the three branches of the state -- that is, the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. They are all equal,” Kovind said while inaugurating the function organised by the Supreme Court in New Delhi to celebrate the Constitution Day.

He said the Constitution is “not static but is a living document” and the sobriety and discretion in communication between these three branches of the state is extremely advisable.

“This will promote and enhance fraternity between three equal branches of the state, all of which have a certain responsibility to the Constitution. It will also reassure the ordinary citizen that the Constitution is safe -- and in mature hands,” the president said.

He also emphasised that high courts across the country need to take up the task of quickly providing certified translated copies of judgements to the litigants in local and regional languages.

“Even the hearings in court, if possible, have to be in a language that is understandable to the ordinary litigant. The process of case disposal too has to be made faster,” he said.

The president also said that it was upon the higher judiciary to mentor and encourage the lower judiciary and in this process, the cooperation of state governments was very much necessary.

He said it was for the state governments to ensure that the judges of the district and subordinate courts were not denied their due perquisites and facilities and high courts should urge the subordinate courts to be more efficient and conclude cases faster.

“I am glad to note, some high courts are taking steps in these directions. As of June 30, 2017, there were about 76,000 old cases, pending for five years or more, in sessions and district courts under the High Court of Jharkhand. The High Court has set a target of March 31, 2018, to dispose off almost half these cases,” he said.

He also referred to the initiative of the Chhattisgarh High Court in setting a deadline of April 30, 2018, for the subordinate courts to dispose off cases pending for over 10 years and September 30 next year deadline for disposing cases pending for between five and 10 years.

“The High Court of Chhattisgarh has also started to make provision for availability of Hindi versions of judgements and orders. I commend these initiatives. I am sure other high courts are also moving ahead with a similar sense of public service,” Kovind said.

He said that Constitution is not just an abstract ideal and it has to be made meaningful to the lives of ordinary people in every street, every village and every ‘mohalla’ of the country.

Delivering a lecture on ‘constitutional value’ at the function, former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti referred to the historical events related to framing of the Constitution.

He said that the Constitution is the “religion of all the religions”.

Referring to the judiciary, the ex-CJI said that while other organs of the state may afford to fail and falter, the judiciary cannot “afford to fail”.

However, he also had a word of caution for the judiciary and said that it should not take upon the role of the executive and the legislature while discharging judicial functions as a “judge is always on trial”.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 17:23 IST