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Next CJI says: Hope to place in place ‘healthy practices’ in courtroom with all on board

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SET to take over because the 49th Chief Justice of India in a fortnight, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit stated he didn’t see his quick tenure of 74 days as a “limitation” however an “opportunity” to place in place a set of “healthy practices” which, he hoped, would get broad acceptance and be adopted by future generations together with his successor.

Justice Lalit was chatting with The Indian Express Saturday at his residence in a free-wheeling interview the place he touched on a spread of points, from the delay in itemizing instances to the necessity for judges to take “in their stride” public criticism.

Asked about his priorities as CJI, Justice Lalit stated: “It is an opportunity which has been given to me. I will make the most of it, in terms of laying down certain things which I consider to be the healthy practices. Of course, they won’t be (shaped only by) my individual views. Whatever I would like to put it down or lay down for the future generations to follow, we will take everybody in confidence…what shall be done hereafter at the level of the Chief Justice — naturally my successor. If you think in those terms, then 74 days is not a limitation.”

While he didn’t elaborate what these good practices could possibly be, he did flag sure points he stated the apex courtroom, as an establishment, wants to concentrate to.

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On the difficulty of bail, he stated there are statutes just like the NDPS Act and SC/ST Act which say that aid shouldn’t be readily granted and this weighs on the trial courtroom which has to contemplate statutory compulsions and societal curiosity. He added that “the law” nevertheless “has to be clear, the law has to be consistent” and “that is something which, as the Supreme Court, we must lay down”.

Asked concerning the notion that the courtroom provides the Executive the good thing about the doubt and doesn’t hear many key instances, Justice Lalit stated that on the degree of the bench, every decide decides the case at a person degree. “(On the subject that) some matters don’t get listed…that is something which, at the institutional level, we will have to find a solution to (in a way that) there won’t be any room for criticism.”

To that impact, he prompt the thought of getting a Constitution bench sitting all year long to make sure that essential issues are taken up immediately. He underlined that this is able to additionally make the perfect use of the formidable expertise that judges convey to the Supreme Court.


Responding to a question about considerations expressed by sections of the judiciary about growing “personal attacks,” on social media, Justice Lalit struck a liberal word. “It (criticism) must be taken with a pinch of salt, so long as it is not a deliberate or a well-thought of action or a well-thought of agenda which is getting employed” and “unless and until it doesn’t transgress to that level, we must actually take it in our stride”.

On the query of judicial appointments, Justice Lalit stated the collegium headed by present CJI N V Ramana and comprising him and Justice A M Khanwilkar (who retired just lately) really helpful 255 names with none type of reservation or dissent.

He, nevertheless, prompt that given the character of the deliberations, some type of “opaqueness” could also be vital and preferable whereas discussing names of judges for elevation as views of the collegium members — apart from these of the consultee judges — should be elicited.


Asked concerning the demand from some quarters to extend the retirement age of judges of the SC, Justice Lalit was of the view that “it’s a matter to be considered by persons who are in charge of that particular issue, whether it’s this way or the other”.

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On criticism about judges taking over post-retirement jobs, Justice Lalit stated that whereas he himself might not take up one, he didn’t assume it’s incorrect to do this. “It’s individual discretion. Nothing wrong in that”, he stated, including there are anyhow some statutory enactments like Lokpal and NHRC that require a retired decide and never taking over the submit would imply that these posts would stay vacant.

Referring to criticism of the misuse of PIL, he cited his personal work as Amicus Curiae for 18 years within the T N Godavarman case (which ushered in legal guidelines for the safety of India’s forests) and stated appointing an Amicus in PILs “will insulate” it “from any kind of criticism that this is motivated petition or a private interest petition or a publicity oriented petition”.


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