India’s top judge today said the judiciary’s independence was “non-negotiable” and “no effort will succeed in taking (it) away”.
Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha went on to praise Britain’s five-year-old National Judicial Appointments Commission, headed by a layperson, which he said was deemed to have achieved transparency in judges’ appointments.
“I don’t intend to discuss about the Bills passed by Parliament but will speak about something dearest to me — independence of judiciary. Justice Lodha said .
“I am sure and more than confident that independence of judiciary will be maintained at any cost by anyone and everyone to whom the judiciary is dear. It is the independence of the judiciary that leads to confidence in the mind of public that it will come to their aid and rescue if any wrong is committed by executive,” said the CJI. Justice Lodha, who was speaking at a conclave organised by the Bar Association of India on the ‘Rule of Law’, said he was certain that a “strong rule of law” warranted an independent judiciary.
It entails impunity if there is any amount of corruption in judiciary,” he said.
Justice Lodha said the people should not do anything that encourages corruption in judiciary. “There are people who play all sorts of tricks on judges and are prepared to tempt judges and please those who man judiciary. We have to ensure that corruption is eradicated in all forms in judiciary,” he said. The CJI appealed to the lawyers to help guarantee purity in administration of justice system.
“I can tell you, having been a judge of the high court, chief justice of the high court (of Bombay) and now the Chief Justice of India… that the judiciary has (an) inherent strength and no effort will succeed in taking away the independence of the judiciary.”
Lawyers who heard Justice Lodha today said his praise for the British panel could be interpreted to mean he was not against a similar panel in India if transparency could be ensured and judicial independence guaranteed.