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'Close judiciary-Govt ties impossible'

Sabharwal says cosy relations will be dangerous as they may come in way of taking independent decisions, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2007 21:48 IST

Amid raging controversy over the relationship between the three organs of the state, outgoing Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal on Saturday said it was dangerous for the judiciary to have a cozy relationship with the legislature.

"There should not be a very cozy relation between the two. It will be dangerous if there will be cozy relation as it may come in the way of taking independent and difficult decisions," Justice Sabharwal told reporters on the eve of his retirement.

He clarified that the judiciary's relationship with the other two organs of the state should be "harmonious" and it need not be "cozy".

Observing that a little bit of tension between the judiciary and the two other organs of the state keeps on going, the CJI said that each organ of the state has to discharge the function assigned to it under the Constitution.

He said there was difference of perception but it was healthy for the judiciary and in the interest of democracy.

The outgoing CJI said the roles of the three organs are defined in the Constitution and law-making power was vested in the Parliament while courts were entitled to examine them.

Asked if some of the recent judgments of the Supreme Court, including the ones in the MPs expulsion case and the Ninth Schedule matter, have resulted in tension between the judiciary and the legislature, he replied in the negative.

"I do not think that there is any tension," he said, adding that such a perception has been there in the history of court since 200 years.

"This has been dealt with to some extent in recent judgement delivered on January 10," he said referring to MPs' expulsion case, in which it ruled that Parliament's decision on the issue of privilege were subject to judicial review.

Legislatures have accepted that they lay down the law and judges are entitled to interpret it whenever required, he maintained. "Limits are there in the Constitution but interpretation has to be done by the judiciary," he said.

To a question, he denied being under any pressure in dealing with the sealing row in the capital. "If your fundamentals and approach are clear and you abide by your oath there is no question of pressure", the CJI said. He, however, admitted that it was his most difficult decision.

Justice KG Balakrishnan, who is to take over as the new CJI on Sunday, said there was no conflict between the three organs of the state and each was simply doing the duty assigned to them under the Constitution.

Asked if he favoured reservation in the judiciary, he said "it is not the business of the chief justice to propose reservation". Earlier, his predecessor had left it to Justice Balakrishnan, saying "no former CJI should thrust his own views on the new CJI."

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First Published: Jan 13, 2007 16:26 IST