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Easy to criticise a system, difficult to transform it: CJI Dipak Misra

On January, the four senior-most judges in the court after the CJI at the time — justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had in an unprecedented press conference raised an alleged lack of transparency in selection of judges to hear important cases.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2018 00:46 IST
HT Correspondent
Dipak Misra,Supreme Court,Ravi Shankar Prasad
CJI Dipak Misra was addressing a gathering of lawyers on the Supreme Court lawns after he unfurled the Indian flag.(PTI)

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra made an oblique reference in his Independence Day speech on Wednesday to the criticism he faced this year from senior colleagues, saying “it was easy to criticise, attack and destroy a system but difficult and challenging to transform it into a performing one”.

“For this, one has to transcend one’s personal ambitions and grievances. Rather, constructive steps need to be taken with positive mindset for reform, no matter howsoever small,” he said, addressing a gathering of lawyers on the Supreme Court lawns after he unfurled the Indian flag.

This January, the four senior-most judges in the court after the CJI at the time — justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had in an unprecedented press conference raised an alleged lack of transparency in the selection of judges to hear important cases, calling it a cause of “serious concern”.

Justice Chelameswar has since retired.

“We have to serve the lady of justice, the queen of justice. She holds the scales of justice, symbolising that the act of delivering and imparting justice has to be balanced as far as possible and that is the basic essence of justice. Anyone who tries to create any kind of dent in that balance is hurting the queen of justice. And when queen of justice sheds tears, possibly all of us will shed tears,” the CJI said in his speech.

He added that “concrete reforms must be undertaken with rationality, maturity, responsibility and composure” and that “it is necessary to be productive instead of being counterproductive”.

Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who spoke on the occasion, said the judiciary must intervene only where there was the “deprivation of the rights of the poor, the marginalised, abuse of power for nepotism, or downright corruption by executive heads — political or bureaucratic”.

Public interest litigation, he said, was “respected” and “accepted”, but there was a need to have “some kind of audit, some kind of understanding” so that the larger perspective of PIL was not lost.

Addressing the lawyers before the CJI, Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh urged both the Bench and lawyers to refrain from making unnecessary oral observations. He said though the judiciary has always ensured the separation of powers remains intact, “our experience is that in the day-to-day functioning of the court, this line is getting a little blurred”.

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 00:46 IST