Differences among judges be left to judiciary, not to be politicised, says Minister

Differences among judges be left to judiciary, not to be politicised, says Minister

Courtesy : NJ27/07/2018 07:24

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said that differences among judges should be left to the "foresight and statesmanship" of the judiciary and should not be "politicised".

Prasad, who holds the portfolios of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, said politicising or interference by the political office would affect the independence of judiciary which is an integral part of Indian democracy. "There will be differences among judges. There have been in the past also. But let us trust the foresight and statesmanship of the judiciary itself to set those differences aside and resolve them. Political process should never intervene.

"As in the past whenever there were differences, the political office never intervened. The same kind of statesmanship and degree of restraint I would expect from my political colleagues across the board. "Let us not politicise the differences, because an independent judiciary with qualities of foresight, statesmanship and capacity to resolve their differences is also integral to Indian democracy," he said, adding, "Collusive litigation designed to provoke political debate should be avoided." Prasad was speaking at an event organised to celebrate the inauguration of the Delhi High Court's new state-of-the-art, environment and disabled friendly building, which will from tomorrow primarily deal with commercial matters.

 On the issue of judicial independence, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the nation was indebted to the judiciary for "reining in" the executive and the legislative whenever they "strayed from their path" or when "black clouds loomed over democracy". He, "as a chief minister and a citizen", thanked the Supreme Court for its landmark verdicts in the last few months, saying that it has led to "boosting the nation's confidence in the judiciary" and added that his government was "fully committed to ensuring independence and integrity of judiciary".

The Union minister, in his speech, also commented on his government's efforts to increase the number of judicial appointments, a topic on which Supreme Court judge N V Ramana said that more judges were needed.Justice Ramana was referring to a recent news report quoting Delhi High Court's Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal as saying that more judges are needed here as the high court was working at 50 per cent strength. Prasad said that his government had cleared 126 judicial appointments in 2016 and aimed to surpass that number this year.

Praising the efforts made by the Delhi High Court judges and other officials who worked towards setting up the new building, he said that the Narendra Modi government in its three years has contributed nearly half of the over Rs 6,000 crore given for developing judicial infrastructure in the country since 1993-94. On the issue of infrastructure, Prasad disagreed with Justice Ramana's suggestion to set up a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation to manage and maintain court buildings across the country.

Instead he said that the state and central governments ought to work together to provide the infrastructure. On the topic of infrastructure, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that people were clapping when the Law Minister was mentioning thousands and thousands of crores, and said, "Claps you make. Do not clap more." "He (Prasad) talked of thousands and thousands of crores, but I am not going to ask him the percentage or to go by the percentage calculation of investment in judicial infrastructure," the CJI, who inaugurated the building, said.

 Prasad also spoke about a "new form of imperialism" -- Queen's counsel barristers dominating international arbitrations. He said that as a law minister he does not find this form of "imperialism" acceptable

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