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OPINION | SC Judges' Press Conference Will Damage Judiciary's Image, Says Former SC Judge

The four judges have got good reasons to challenge the monopoly of the CJI. But they should have challenged him in the confines of the four walls of the judiciary.

Santosh Hegde |

Updated:January 12, 2018, 5:14 PM IST
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OPINION | SC Judges' Press Conference Will Damage Judiciary's Image, Says Former SC Judge
Apart from J Chelameswar, other sitting judges present included Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph. (Network18)

It is very unfortunate that the internal dispute of the judiciary was brought out in this manner publicly. What the four judges have done today by holding the press conference to bring out their dispute in public is that they’ve denigrated the institution of judiciary.

There are reasons for people to be aggrieved with the system but unlike other wings – the executive and the legislature – the judiciary doesn’t discuss its disputes in public. It is bound to protect its own integrity.

By this I don’t mean to imply that I’m supporting the Chief Justice of India. The four judges have got good reasons to challenge the monopoly of the CJI. But they should have challenged him in the confines of the four walls of the judiciary.

Going to the press is the last resort. And if the four judges have taken this last resort it also says that there is something seriously wrong with the judiciary. But I wish these issues were settled internally. The required changes within the system should have been brought about internally.

There have been disputes within the members of collegiums earlier as well, and there have been serious disputes between CJI and other members of the Supreme Court. But none of these cases were brought about publicly.

The judiciary survives on public confidence. People believe that the judiciary is behaving ‘judiciously’. But public belief in our system will definitely be damaged by today’s press conference. Today’s press conference will give the other two wings of the country – legislature and the executive – enough ammo now to attack the judiciary. I am very saddened that the institution that has survived unblemished for the last 70 years, since it was founded after the country’s independence, has run into such times.

(As told to Suhas Munshi. Santosh Hegde is a former Supreme Court judge. Views are personal.)

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