Shun corrupt judges, CJI tells politicos

Shun corrupt judges, CJI tells politicos

Kapadia for clean man in black robe

Shun corrupt judges, CJI tells politicos

In an indirect acknowledgement of corruption afflicting the judiciary, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on Saturday said the country needed “a clean man in black robe” and called upon politicians to avoid giving protection to corrupt judges.

Upset over a string of corruption charges being faced by the judiciary, he asked the judges to lead their lives by example and to remain “aloof” and “isolated” from the community at large.
He said: “A judge’s obligation must start and end with his analysis of law, not with personal beliefs or preferences. The judge should not accept patronage through which he acquires office, preferential treatment or pre-retirement assignment. These can give rise to corruption if and when quid pro quo makes a demand on such judges.”

Delivering the fifth M C Setalvad memorial lecture on “Canons of Judicial Ethics,” Justice Kapadia said: “We need a clean man in the black robe to uphold the independence and the integrity of the Judiciary.  A judge must inevitably choose to be a little aloof and isolated from the community at large. He should not be in contact with lawyers, individuals or political parties, their leaders or ministers unless it be on purely social occasions.”

Kapadia also said that higher judiciary should avoid taking adverse action on resistance of interference in the functioning of lower judiciary.

“Internal interference from a high-ranking judge which, if resisted, could lead the lower-ranking judge being transferred or being denied promotion also needs to be deprecated. Similarly, political protection should not be given to corrupt judges,” he said.

Justice Kapadia made these references after senior advocates Anil B Divan and P P Rao of the Bar Association of India referred to corruption charges being faced by sitting judges P D Dinakaran and Soumitra Sen, who are facing impeachment proceedings in Parliament.

Asking judges not to accept any kind of patronage, Justice Kapadia advised them not to go by popular choice and keep in mind that they were accountable to the electorates. He also asked the judiciary to maintain self-restraint and respect constitutional principle of separation of power.

The chief justice said he had avoided socialisation and even preferred not to take the membership of any golf clubs as it would have left him mingling with advocates and politicians giving a negative impression to the people.

“There should be a fair criticism of judgments. And irresponsible and illegitimate criticism should be avoided,” he added.