The new Chief Justice of India R M Lodha on Sunday asked the judicial officers to maintain the highest standards of probity while admitting that the recent allegations of sexual harassment could have dented the image of the judiciary.
He said that judges were expected to act in “nothing short of perfection” in behaviour and conduct.
“Every act which is not good for the society is not good for the judiciary as well and it is bound to dent the image of the institution where nothing short of the perfection is demanded and expected,” Justice Lodha said, in response to a query if such complaints have dented the image of the judiciary.
“So, the judiciary has to behave and work in the best possible tradition and follow the highest code of conduct,” he added.
Interacting with the media in the Supreme Court premises immediately after taking over the charge following retirement of Justice P Sathasivam, the CJI said that his top priority would be to fill the vacancies of judges.
“My first priority would be to appoint judges in high courts and the Supreme Court. My mantra is appoint good judges and rest will follow on its own. If we have good judges then we would have entire new complexion of judiciary in the next 7 or 8 years down the line,” he said.
Defending collegium system of appointment of judges, Justice Lodha said, “I am bringing more transparency and wider consultation in appointment of judges. Consultations to be done with 2-3 judges outside the collegium and with 2-3 lawyers of impeccable integrity.”
The 64-year-old judge is the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court and was sworn in as the 41st Chief Justice of India by President Pranab Mukherjee in a brief ceremony.