SC’s present phase ‘disastrous’, high time collegiality is restored, says former CJI Lodha

While expressing anguish over the ‘disastrous’ phase through which the Supreme Court of India is going, the former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha said that if the High Courts take the crisis as a ‘precedent then the judicial system in the country will turn chaotic’, reported the Indian Express.

“…The phase we are seeing in the SC today, is to say the least, disastrous. It is high time the collegiality is restored. The judges with the different approaches and viewpoints must find a common ground — that takes the SC forward and that maintains the independence of the judiciary. I find that the independence of judiciary is non-negotiable and it is for the CJI, who is the leader of the court, to show statesmanship. He has to take all the brothers and sisters together,” Justice Lodha said.

He was speaking here Tuesday evening at the launch of author, journalist and former Minister Arun Shourie’s latest book “Anita Gets Bail: What are our courts doing? What should we do about them? (HarperCollins)”

“When judges don’t ensure independence of judiciary, it is very bad for democracy. For a democracy to thrive, independence of judiciary is a must. And that must come from the top. And that must come from the SC…It is true that in Supreme Court there are no junior judges and senior judges. But then senior judges also must get their due. SC is no place for personal grudges. One may have a difference of opinion. You don’t impugn the person. You may challenge his viewpoint. Collegiality is sine qua non for an institution like SC. Because collegiality mitigates personal choices and preferences and lets you find a common ground for the betterment of the institution and in the interest of justice,” Justice Lodha said.

Recently the opposition, including the Congress, handed over a notice seeking impeachment of the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to the Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu.

The move came a day after the Supreme Court ruled out any independent probe into the death of CBI Special Judge Brijmohan Harikishan Loya.

However Naidu, who is also the Vice President of India rejected the notice saying that it lacks substantial merit.  The Opposition had decided to challenge the rejection in the Supreme Court of India.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that the charges against the CJI are very grave and it appears the government is not keen on an inquiry.

“We’ll certainly file a petition (in Supreme Court) against this and would want the CJI to not take any decision with respect to it, be it the listing or anything else, we’ll accept whatever SC decides,” he said.

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