Easy to criticise but difficult to transform: CJI

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. PTI File photo

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said on Wednesday that to criticise, attack and destroy a system was easy but it was difficult and challenging to transform it into a performing one.

The Chief Justice, while delivering his speech after unfurling the national flag at the 72nd Independence Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said one has to transcend his personal ambitions and take constructive steps with a positive mindset so that the institution can go to greater heights.

"To criticise, attack and destroy the system is quite easy. What is difficult and challenging is to transform it into a performing one. For this, one has to transcend one's personal ambitions or grievances and rather constructive steps need to be taken with positive mindset of reforms...with rationality, maturity, responsibility and composure," Justice Misra said.

He said there may be some elements that may endeavour to weaken the institution but everyone together have refused to succumb to them.

"There may be some elements that may endeavour to weaken the institution. But we refuse, we all together, to succumb to them. I will tell them and quote Alfred Lord Tennyson's 'Ulysses' 'but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield'," Justice Misra said.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also present at the event, said that it was necessary to have some kind of audit and understanding so that larger perspective of public interest litigations (PIL) is not lost.

He was referring to the recent imposing of heavy cost by the apex court for filing frivolous PILs.

"People have faith in judiciary. I always say judiciary must intervene to set things right. But this I need to gently add today that the Supreme Court of late is imposing heavy costs in case of fly-by-night PILs.

"There is a need to have some kind of audit, some kind of understanding so that the larger perspective of PILs is not lost," Prasad said.

SCBA President Vikas Singh said that passing oral observation in the court has been damaging the institution.

"We have to realise that this is the only institution where the decision making is done in front of the public. Every word spoken in court is reported in the media and unfortunately the words spoken can't be erased or expunged. I feel that as an institution we need to introspect that we should not pass any oral observations in any court proceedings both on the bench side as well as from the lawyers side. Even lawyers make observations for the only purpose of getting reported in the media and which damages the institution," Singh said.

Justice Misra, in his address, said that no one should "hurt the Lady Justice".

He said the scales in the hands of Lady Justice symbolises the act of delivering a balanced justice and anyone trying to disturb that balance would hurt the queen.

"We have to serve the lady of justice, the queen of justice and she holds the scales of justice. Symbolising the act of delivering an important justice has to be balanced as far as possible and that's the true essence of justice and anyone who tries to create any type of dent in that balance is hurting the queen of justice and when queen of justice shed tears, possibly all of us will have to shed tears.

"We will never ever allow the queen of justice to shed tears," Justice Misra said.

He also said that it was necessary to be productive in order to take the institution to greater heights.

"It's necessary to be productive instead of being counter-productive and then only the institution can go to greater heights. Vikas Singh says arguments are advanced for some other reason. Yes, judges listen to them. That's different. But then everyone should remember it's essential that one should work hard in silence and with utmost sincerity and his works shall make the noise," the CJI said.

Law Minister, in his address, urged the young lawyers to visit the Cellular Jail in the Andaman islands and visit the cell in which V D Savarkar was lodged for 11 years.

He mentioned a freedom fighter from Gaya in Bihar who had languished in the Cellular Jail for 15 years and said that he had refused to take pension from the government saying he was fighting for freedom of the country and not for pension.

"From Mahatma Gandhi, (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose to Sardar Patel, they all are legendary figures. But the sheer sacrifice of these revolutionaries was no less. So whenever you visit these places at least go and visit them and shower two words of praise," Prasad said.

However, Justice Misra said the freedom fighters fought for the country and not for our praise.

"Law Minister said wherever we go meet the freedom fighters and praise them. I disagree. The people who fought for this country they did not fight for our praise. They did not really bother about it. They fought because they fought for the country. And that is what people fight for, own country, civilisation and their own rights. Possible that's a tribute to them than showering praises on them," Misra said. 

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Easy to criticise but difficult to transform: CJI

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