CJI Ramana's 'Lakshman Rekha' jibe at meet with PM, CMs
Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Saturday said that one must be mindful of the "Lakshman Rekha" (ethical limits) while performing their duties. He further said the Constitution even establishes a separation of powers among the state's three organs. He was speaking at the 11th Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The Indian Constitution provides for a separation of power and responsibilities between the three organs of the democratic government—the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary—also known as the three pillars of democracy.
- CJI Ramana was of the view—in the presence of PM Modi—that deliberate inaction by the governments in the face of judicial pronouncements is not good for the health of any democracy.
"Constitution provides separation of power among three organs...the harmonious function between three organs strengthens democracy," said Ramana. "While discharging our duty, we should be mindful of Lakshman Rekha," the CJI added. He also raised concerns over public interest litigations (PILs) being misused as "personal interest litigations" to settle personal scores. "Realizing the potential for misuse, courts are...highly cautious in entertaining [PILs]," he said.
The CJI further clarified his comments about legislative scrutiny made earlier on Independence Day were misinterpreted, adding he didn't want to interfere in the legislative process. However, Ramana emphasized the importance of thorough legislative scrutiny prior to passing laws. Notably, several Opposition leaders had earlier alleged the Centre had passed the now-repealed farm laws and several other bills without scrutiny in the Parliament.
In the midst of a raging debate over Hindi and India's linguistic diversity, the Chief Justice also stated the time for the legal system to bring local languages into courts has now arrived. Speaking at the event, PM Modi also emphasized the importance of incorporating local languages into the legal system. Modi said such measures would boost people's confidence and connection with the system.
Modi further urged the CMs to nullify outdated laws to improve the delivery of justice. He also highlighted the importance of a digital judicial system. "To strengthen citizens, technology has become an important tool. Likewise, our judicial infrastructure needs to be digitalized too," Modi stated. "Tech-friendly human resources play an important role in integrating Digital India with the nation's growth story," the PM added.