New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha termed the prevailing situation in the apex judiciary as “disastrous” and said though the CJI is the master of roster, the allocation of cases has to be “fair and in the interest of the institution”.
Asserting that the “independence of judiciary is non-negotiable”, Justice Lodha said it was for the CJI to take the institution forward by showing “statesmanship qualities” and taking his colleagues together.
“The phase we are seeing at the Supreme Court today is, to say the least, disastrous. It is high time that collegiality is restored. The judges, though with their different approaches and different view points, must find a common ground that takes the Supreme Court forward. That maintains the independence of judiciary,” Justice Lodha said at the launch of a book by former union minister Arun Shourie.
Justice Lodha had faced a similar incident as in the case of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph during his tenure as the CJI when the NDA government had segregated the Collegium’s recommendation and sought reconsideration of the name of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium as an apex court judge.
Subramanium had later stepped aside from the race.
“I always felt that independence of judiciary is non-negotiable and it is for the CJI, who is the leader of the court, to take them forward. He has to show his statesmanship qualities, take all brothers and sisters together,” Lodha said, without making any reference to the incumbent CJI Dipak Misra.
Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah and Shourie, a critic of the NDA government, shared the platform with Justice Lodha and also criticised the overall functioning of the CJI.
Justice Lodha released the book titled “Anita Gets Bail”, published by HarperCollins India, in which the former union minister deals with various judgments from the apex court to trial courts.
Shah termed the recent verdict of the apex court on the death of special CBI judge BH Loya as “utterly wrong, and jurisprudentially, incorrect on so very many counts”. He said that the apex court in the judge Loya case verdict had called it as a veiled attempt to attack on the judiciary and asked “How is asking for an investigation an attack on the judiciary?”
“The system as a whole has evolved into something cold-hearted. Even with all this, the judiciary is still one of the last institutions that are respected, but that is changing,” he said.
Justice Shah said that the judiciary is going through an extremely volatile phase which has not been witnessed in recent years.
“The press meet held by four senior judges of the Supreme Court earlier this year made allusions, in no cryptic terms, to the charge of selective allocation of cases, and the misuse of the power of master of the roster. This is a very serious issue and is nothing short of an allegation of bench packing,” he said.
“We cannot function without a judiciary that is independent, or without a justice system that is self-reflective, and is aware of its faults and wants to improve them,” he said.
Shourie said if CJI Misra has to “say repeatedly that he is the master of the roster … this already means that he has lost the moral authority”. He also advocated that the executive should be checked in order to prevent “totalitarian control of every institution” and said “if you do not stop them, they will go on. Most institutions are eroded from the inside”.
‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley
Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.
“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.
This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.
The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.
The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.
As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.
In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.
“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.
Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.
Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.
Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.
His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.
“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.
“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.
No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat
Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.
“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.
Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.
“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.
Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”