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Scrutiny in Appointments to Higher Judiciary More Stringent: Chief Justice T S Thakur

The senior lawyer also referred to Justice Iyer's 1975 conditional stay on Allahabad High Court verdict that unseated Indira Gandhi as MP which led to the events that culminated in the imposition of Emergency.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:October 26, 2016, 10:19 PM IST
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Scrutiny in Appointments to Higher Judiciary More Stringent: Chief Justice T S Thakur
File Image of former Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.

New Delhi: Scrutiny in appointments to the higher judiciary is much more stringent these days and it would have been "inconceivable" for a judge like late V R Krishna Iyer, who flaunted his political activism, to be elevated to the apex court, Chief Justice T S Thakur on Wednesday said.

"A politician becoming a judge and that too a judge of the Supreme Court is inconceivable in present context. That too a judge who has been prosecuted in 10 criminal cases. A judge who has undergone sentence for 30 days," he said in his speech at Inaugural Lecture series in memory of Justice Iyer here.

"A judge who is a political activist, an agitationist becoming a candidate and becoming a judge is inconceivable today," he further said.

While calling himself a die hard fan of Justice Iyer, the Chief Justice said in today's time, if we had an Iyer-type candidate, the collegium would have hesitated in recommending him.

"We had a meeting of the collegium today. One of the objection about two of the candidates were that they had obtained a chamber and the allotment was later cancelled as it was found that the allotment was not valid according to rules.

"Allottee has gone to the court to challenge the cancellation. Now one of the objection is that this candidate is in litigation. We have even deferred. Times have changed.

Today if we had a Justice Krishna Iyer kind of candidate, we would have been very very hesitant in recommending him for elevation," CJI said.

Beside the CJI, former Supreme Court Judge K S P Radhakrishnan, senior advocates Fali S Nariman and P H Parekh praised Justice Iyer while addressing the first lecture series organised by Sarada-Krishna Satgamaya Foundation, a charitable trust founded by Justice Iyer, to conduct law lectures and to promote other activities connected with legal education and legal literary works.

Senior lawyer Nariman, while delivering the inaugural speech of the lecture series, recalled major judgments pronounced by Justice Iyer like the Ratlam municipality judgment and remembered his toughness in dealing with the issues of social justice keeping away his political affinities.

Nariman also hailed Justice Iyer as a jurist who defined bail jurisprudence in favour of undertrials when he laid down that bail, not jail was the rule and was averse to preventive detentions as a general rule.

The senior lawyer also referred to Justice Iyer's 1975 conditional stay on Allahabad High Court verdict that unseated Indira Gandhi as MP which led to the events that culminated in the imposition of Emergency.

He recalled that once Justice Iyer was denied enrollment in the Kerala Bar Association but he threatened to sue the Kerala Bar Association.

"Evidently, it worked," Nariman said while hailing Justice Iyer as "super judge".

He also criticised the handling of the recent dengue epidemic in Delhi, as something Justice Iyer would never have done.

Endorsing the senior counsel's words praising former apex court judge, CJI Thakur called late Justice Iyer a legend and compared him with Mount Everest.

"If we compare the judicial landscape with the Himalayas, Justice Krishna Iyer was the Mount Everest," he added.

He further said the presence of such huge gathering of Bar at this hour, on a working day shows there is a great hunger for knowledge, continuing education, to know about the past legends and their contribution.

"Why can't we organise such lectures on a regular basis in memory of various other prominent lawyers and jurists? This can be an opportunity to the younger generation of the bar.

"Only way we can relieve the memories of such great people is to remember them through the work that they have done and especially through the words of those who have worked with them," CJI said adding Justice Iyer was unique in many respects.

"First of all he was the first person who came from politics to judiciary. We know that judges who have retired have a tendency to meddle in politics," he added.

CJI also said Iyer's understanding about the constitutional ethos was unparalleled.

"I admire his vocabulary. Krishna Iyer's vocabulary was phenomenal. I believe that he has the distinction of coining new expressions. He has made additions to English language.

For an Indian to do that, I think it requires only a man from Kerala eating lots of fish, a brainy fellow, who can do all these," he said.

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| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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