Outgoing Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Thursday dismissed criticism against the Supreme Court judgement on the Mumbai dance bar issue saying if the constitutional rights of the people have been affected it was duty of the judiciary to protect them.
There was no friction between judiciary and the executive and there was no over-reaching by the courts whose duty it was to tell the executive to do its work, he said.
"Well, the reaction to that is simple. That we are doing our job. Legislature is doing its job, the executive is doing its own job. What was fair to me, something which was against the constitutional rights of the people, is not, is certainly not, the jurisdiction of the legislature or the executive.
"If the constitutional rights of the people have been affected, it is the duty of the judiciary to see that they are duly protected," Justice Kabir told reporters as he left the courts on his last day as CJI.
He was asked about the perception that judiciary was over-reaching into the domain of the executive and that after the judgement in the Mumbai dance bar girls case there was criticism in the Maharashtra assembly that if the Supreme Court judges want to run the country let them be elected.
Justice Kabir said there was no friction at all between judiciary and other organs.
"There is no question of encroachment. You see, if somebody does not do his work, then, we as the court, we have the power of mandamus to tell him to do his work. There is no question of over-reaching. It is a question of people not doing their work, making them do their work," he said.
Asked if that was why the judiciary steps in, the CJI replied "that's right, that's just it."
He would not reply to a question on a perception that legislature was not working properly saying he would not go into the "very controversial" issue. When asked about his tenure, Justice Kabir replied "excellent".
"I have enjoyed myself thoroughly and I can tell you one thing that I do not have any baggage to carry with me. All the baggage (is) left here, in the sense I have done what I felt I needed to do and I have done it properly," he said.
To a question about the alleged leak of some contents of the Supreme Court judgement on the National Eligibility Entrance Test before it was delivered by a bench headed by him this morning, he expressed surprise.
"As far as I know this is entirely a secret. It was kept in my chamber. I would not be able to answer this," he said.