Rule of law fundamental feature of Constitution: CJI Bobde
The rule of law is probably the “most fundamental feature” of modern constitutions and its success depends on how judiciaries across the world respond to emerging challenges, Chief Justice S A Bobde said on Saturday.
The CJI, while speaking at the International Judges’ Conference on the subject of ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’ at the Supreme Court, also stressed on the need for citizens to perform their legal duties. “Probably the most fundamental feature of most modern constitutions is the idea of the rule of law,” he said, adding, “Undoubtedly, the success of the rule of law in our countries depends on how the judiciaries respond to such challenges and how they emerge.”
Referring to Constitutional provisions, Justice Bobde said it was often implicit in law that “legal rights have correlatives of legal duties.” “A feature often neglected is a chapter on fundamental duties imposing on every citizen the duties to abide by the constitution, the whole of it and respect its ideals and institution.”
The CJI said over 50 countries have specific provisions on fundamental duties in their constitutions. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, CJI said the exercise of rights depends on one’s sense of duty and “real rights are a result of performance of duty”.
CJI Bobde, who has been very vocal about issues concerning the environment and climate crisis, also welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the event by handing him a potted plant.
During the hearing of a case over the felling of trees in West Bengal, CJI Bobde on February 18 said green cover must be preserved and people should be willing to explore alternatives when it comes to issues involving environmental concerns.
The CJI said: “When you cut a heritage tree, imagine the value of the oxygen the tree produced all these years. Compare it to how much you would have to pay for the equivalent amount of oxygen tree produced if you have to buy it from somewhere else.”
Likewise, the CJI has been proactive in hearing another case – a petition seeking implementation of a 2012 government policy mandating public transport vehicles and government fleets to switch to electric vehicles (EVs).