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SC disapproves remarks against Modi by Gujarat high court

January 02, 2013 20:10 IST

Judges must not use strong and carping language and pass derogatory remarks against anyone, the Supreme Court said and asked them to act with sobriety and restraint.

"Judges must not use strong and carping language, rather they must act with sobriety, moderation and restraint, as any harsh and disparaging strictures passed by them, against any person may be mistaken or unjustified, and in such an eventuality, they do more harm and mischief, than good, therefore resulting in injustice," the apex court said.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla made the observation while objecting to the remarks made by the Gujarat high court against Narendra Modi even as it upheld the high court's ruling that approved of the appointment of Justice (retd) R A Mehta as state Lokayukta.

The bench said the high court, which had said that Modi had created a mini-Constitutional crisis on appointment of Lokayukta, should have maintained restraint and should not have made such remarks against a constitutional authority.

"We are of the view that the judge, even if he did not approve of the 'my-way or the high way' attitude adopted by the CM, ought to have maintained a calm disposition and should not have used such harsh language against a Constitutional authority, i.e. the chief minister," the bench said.

"The courts should not make any undeserving or derogatory remarks against any person, unless the same are necessary for the purpose of deciding the issue involved in a given case. Even where criticism is justified, the court must not use intemperate language and must maintain judicial decorum at all times, keeping in view always, the fact that the person making such comments, is also fallible," it said.

"The governor consulted the attorney general for legal advice, and communicated with the chief justice of the Gujarat HC directly, without taking into confidence, the council of ministers. In this respect, she was wrongly advised to the effect that she had to act as a statutory authority and not as the head of the state," the bench said.

"Be that as it may, in light of the facts and circumstances of the present case, it is evident that the chief minister had full information and was in receipt of all communications from the chief justice, whose opinion is to be given primacy as regards such matters, and can only be overlooked, for cogent reasons," the bench said.

The apex court said that objections raised by Modi have been duly considered by the chief justice and there is no need to set aside the appointment.

The governor had on August 25, 2011 appointed Mehta to the post of Lokayukta, which had been lying vacant then for eight years.

The bench disapproved observations made against Modi by the high court which had said that the "pranks" played by the chief minister on the Lokayukta issue "demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy."

The high court's verdict had been delivered by Justice V M Sahai after a division bench gave a split judgement on the legitimacy of the governor's action in Mehta's appointment.

Justice Sahai, who decided the matter as a third judge, had also pulled up Modi for creating a constitutional crisis and held that the governor had the discretionary power to make the appointment.

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