CJI Current Affairs - 2019
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Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha has voiced his concerns about the growing attempts by various stakeholders to interfere and encroach upon judicial independence.
He asserted that in times where Indian executive and legislature has lost its sheen due to humongous number of scams and wrongdoings, judiciary plays a very important part in maintaining the sanctity of the democracy. No attempt to curtail or contain judicial independence will be allowed as judiciary has an inherent ability to ward-off all such challenges.
He did not directly touch the new law which has found safe passage in the Parliament, to put an abrupt end to the collegiums system, he firmly stated that no such law or effort to undermine judiciary will succeed. The recently active Supreme Court has taken the role of an active watchman under the blanket of judicial activism, is enough to check the Constitutional excesses committed by the lawmakers.
He reiterated the fact that judicial independence ensures public confidence as an institute of the last resort where justice will be served despite any opposition and influence. People place high credibility and trust in the judiciary to get justice in case of any kind of misconduct by the executive. The latter clause and confidence will be meaningless if executive interference is allowed or tailored into the process of judicial appointments.
The CJI told the legal fraternity to keep away people who “play tricks to taint judiciary” stating any form of corruption in judiciary “shield impurity which is the worst form of aliment in thriving democracy.” “I won’t speak on the issue (the Bill) but I would touch upon the issue of independence of judiciary which is very dear to me. It is one thing which is non-negotiable,” Justice Lodha, who is leaving office as CJI on 27 September, said. “Having been a judge of high courts and the Supreme Court for more than two decades, 21 years, I can say with confidence that judiciary has the inherent strength and no effort would succeed in taking away the independence of judiciary,” he said.
Justice HL Dattu who joined the highest court in 2008, is all set to take over the topmost post. Justice Dattu who joined as an advocate in 1975, has a long experience in all kinds of cases backing him like it civil, criminal, tax or even Constitutional cases. From 1983 onwards he appeared in before the Karnataka High Court pleader for sales tax department, standing counsel for Income Tax department and later as government advocate. After being designated as a senior standing counsel for I-T department in 1995, Justice Dattu was elevated as a judge of the Karnataka High Court.
He also served as Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh high court for a few months in 2007 and then at Kerala HC. Justice Dattu will have a relatively extended tenure than his predecessors. While Justice Sathasivam – now tipped to be appointed as a Governor – retired in April this year, CJI Lodha will be the second top judge hanging his boots.
The judicial appointments have been an issue recently over the newly passed Judicial Appointments Commission Bill which will overtake the existing collegium system. Known for his statements, former SC judge, Justice Katju now the Chairman of Press Council of India had expressed his disappointment over the appointment process for CJI which is so far purely on the basis of seniority. Mr. Katju was voting in favor for the consideration of merit in the appointment of such a crucial and important post.