CJI wants mutual respect among state bodies

CJI wants mutual respect among state bodies

Emphasising the constitutional principle of separation of powers, Chief Justice of India R M Lodha asked for mutual respect among the judiciary, Parliament and the executive, which would allow each organ to work independently and smoothly in its own sphere.

“I am sure that people in the judiciary, people in executive and people in Parliament are mature enough to have mutual respect for each other and ensure that each of them is permitted to work in their sphere unhindered by any extraneous influence,” Justice Lodha said, at a flag-hoisting ceremony organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association here.
The Constitution makers ensured that all organs of the State operated in their respective fields without encroaching upon each other’s domain, he said.

The CJI’s words assume significance as the Parliament has cleared the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and the 121st Constitution Amendment Bill, scrapping the 21-year-old collegium system of appointment of judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court.

Notably, jurist and constitutional expert Fali S Nariman and former law minister Kapil Sibal have come on record to say that they would challenge the constitutional validity of the legislation in the Supreme Court.

According to the new proposal, a six-member body headed by the CJI and comprising the law minister, two eminent persons and two senior most judges would replace the existing collegium system consisting of five topmost judges.

A PIL was filed on Thursday by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who sought quashing of both the bills as they were “malafide, protective of corrupt politicians, and damaging to the basic structure of the Constitution”.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who attended the function, said, “Our government’s commitment to the sanctity and independence of the judiciary is complete and we hold it very high.”

In his speech, the CJI said that the collegium system was responsible for appointment of 906 judges in the high courts and 31 in the Supreme Court, while the state governments appointed 19,000 judges in lower courts.

Justice Lodha also asked the law minister to consider increasing the number of judges to raise the judge-case or judge-population ratio. He demanded the government to provide technological tools to the police, prosecution and judicial officers to speed up the justice delivery system.

The CJI also expressed concern over the poor rate of justice delivery as central prisons housed more than 50 per cent inmates as undertrials and in case of district prisons, the figure was over 72 per cent.

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