if the judiciary does not have the power democracy in this country would be unthinkable:CJI

staff Reporter

Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana defended the judiciary against charges that judges were appointing judges through the collegium system. He said, “It is nowadays fashionable to reiterate phrases like ‘judges are themselves appointing judges’. I consider this to be one of the widely propagated myths.”

“The fact is that the judiciary is merely one of the many players involved in the process. Many authorities are involved, including the Union law ministry, state governments, Governors, high court collegiums, Intelligence Bureau, and lastly, the topmost executive, who all are designated to examine the suitability of a candidate. I am sad to note that the well-informed also propagate the aforesaid notion as these narratives suit certain sections,” Justice Ramana said.

Justice Ramana said filling of vacancies was one of the persistent challenges that the judiciary faced and appreciated the government’s efforts in appointing several judges in recent times. He requested the Centre to strictly adhere to the timelines laid down and said that some recommendations made by the High Courts were yet to be sent to the Supreme Court by the Union law ministry.

He was speaking at the Justice Lavu Venkateswarlu Memorial Lecture at Siddhartha College in Kanuru in Vijayawada on Sunday. His lecture was titled 'Future Challenges of the Indian Judiciary .

The CJI defended the judiciary against criticism of judicial overreach through the power of review. He said that “such generalisations are misguided” and that “if the judiciary does not have the power of judicial review, the functioning of democracy in this country would be unthinkable”.

He stated that a popular majority was not a defence for arbitrary actions taken by a government and said the concept of separation of powers cannot be utilised to restrict the scope of judicial review.

Justice Ramana said, “The least that is expected of the legislature while drafting laws is that they abide by settled Constitutional principles. While making laws, they must also think of providing effective remedies for issues that may arise out of the law. But these principles are being seemingly ignored .

The CJI also pulled up the executive, saying that “there appears to be a growing tendency to disregard, and even disrespect court orders”. He added that “ensuring justice is not the responsibility of the judiciary alone” and that “unless the other two coordinate organs make sincere efforts to fill up vacancies, appoint prosecutors, strengthen infrastructure, and make laws with a clear foresight and stakeholders’ analysis, the judiciary cannot be held solely responsible .

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