Nobody is safe if judiciary isn't independent: Justice Chelameswar
Reiterating his demand for an independent judiciary, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second seniormost judge in the SC, said it is important "if we want our grandchildren to stay with dignity." "If the judiciary is not strong, independent, responsive and efficient then nobody is safe in India," he said. He also emphasized the bar's role in resolving imbalance between the judiciary and the executive.
'Power has a tendency to corrupt people'
Speaking at the NL Belekar Memorial Lecture organized by the Nagpur HC Bar Association, Chelameswar said the executive exercises some control on the judiciary as it supervises appointments. "When (control) becomes excessive, it poses a constant threat to the independence of judiciary," he said, adding power has a tendency to corrupt people. He also hinted at misuse of CBI and ED by ruling parties.
'Not blaming anybody but concerned for my grandchildren'
"I am not here to blame anybody but I am concerned for my grandchildren," Chelameswar said. "If I want my grandchildren to live with dignity in this country, I need to protect, preserve and strengthen the judiciary in this country." If it isn't so, "nobody in this country is safe." The judiciary is also the only mechanism to check those in power, he said.
'Bar has to critically examine role of executive and judiciary'
Chelameswar then talked about the importance of the bar. It has to remain vigilant and "critically examine the role of executive when the attack comes in innumerable forms, and also examine the bench's role." Citing the huge backlog of cases in Indian courts and a resultant hesitation in people to approach the judiciary, he added that "the bar has a prominent role to play" here too.
Chelameswar and colleagues made history with an unprecedented press conference
Chelameswar and his three colleagues, the four topmost judges of the SC, made headlines in January when they addressed a historic press conference accusing the chief justice of unauthorized use of his power. One key accusation was that he arbitrarily assigned cases to benches of his choice without rational reason. Chelameswar recently said impeachment of the chief justice won't solve the judiciary's problems.