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Home > News > PTI

Chief Justice seeks more powers to deal with errant judges

Ranjit Kumar Sinha and Satya Prakash | May 01, 2004 22:50 IST

Exasperated over his helplessness in dealing with corrupt and indisciplined judges of the higher judiciary, Chief Justice of India V N Khareon Saturdaysaid the Constitution of India should be amended to confer more powers on the CJI or a collegium headed by him to deal with 'errant' judges.

"I feel exasperated that the Chief Justice of India has no power under the Constitution to even ask for explanation from the erring Judges," Justice Khare, who retires on Sunday, told PTI.

He said the in-house mechanism evolved by the Supreme Court in consultation with the Chief Justices of the high courts "morally binds" the judges but added that it was time the CJI or a collegium of senior apex court judges headed by him was given more powers to deal with the problem of corruption and indiscipline among judges.

The CJI had recently chastised judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for taking en masse leave over differences with their Chief Justice on membership of a controversial resort. It was on his intervention that two High Court judges -- Shameet Mukherjee and Arun Madan -- resigned last year after being linked to scandals.

Justice Khare took pride in claiming to have restored the image of judiciary. "When I took over as CJI, it was at its lowest ebb," he said. "The Karnataka scandal, Rajasthan scandal, Punjab scandal and the Delhi scandal -- all hit at the image of the judiciary. It was a trying time for the judiciary.

"I took a vow to restore its image and prestige. Taking the resignation of two errant Judges was unprecedented. I retire as a satisfied man," he added. Asked whether the Justice done to the victims of Gujarat riots by a Bench of the Supreme Court headed by him was the high point of his long career in judiciary, Justice Khare said it was one of the high points in his eventful career.

Justice Khare, who prefers to wear the traditional dhoti and kurta at home, said, "It is for the people of the country to judge what I have done. The letters I get everyday in hundreds from common men reposing faith in judiciary is the best compliment I could expect from any quarter. It shows affection, love and regard of the countrymen."

"Whatever little I could have done for the country, I have done," he added.

The CJI, whose order scuttled the government move to put a bureaucrat as head of Competition Commission, disapproved of the trend of the Executive trying to usurp judicial functions by appointing civil servants to head tribunals.

"It is a very sad trend. These are people from the Executive. How can you expect justice from them?" he wondered.

Instead of tribunals, he suggests there should be special benches in the high courts to deal with matters relating to intellectual property rights, tax and other such matters.

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