New Delhi: Chief
Justice of India S.H. Kapadia Saturday urged the judiciary to
exercise restraint and resist the temptation of encroaching upon
the domains of the government and parliament lest it jeopardises
the entire system.
"The judiciary needs to work in the area demarcated by the
constitution," said Chief Justice Kapadia.
"The principle of judicial independence has acquired renewed
significance, since the Constitution of India has conferred on the
judiciary the power of judicial review," he said in his inaugural
address at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar
Association on the National Law Day.
"However, keeping in mind the doctrine of separation of powers,
the judiciary has to exercise considerable restraint to ensure
that the surcharged democracy does not lead to a breakdown of the
working of parliament and the government," the chief justice said.
He said that the awareness among people about their rights and a
low rate of redressal by the executive (government) was generating
and multiplying litigation.
Chief Justice Kapadia said: "The executive has its own compulsions
- huge population, lack of resources and high inflation."
"Let me say that there is a need to highlight that all the
stakeholders are accountable for maintaining and achieving
standards of court excellence," he said, complimenting the
The entire judiciary could not be maligned by generalising the
wrongdoings of a few judges here and there, he said.
"We, the judges, do not mind a studied fair criticism. However, as
an advice to the bar, please do not dismantle an institution
without showing how to build a better one," the chief Justice
Dwelling on the judicial independence and accountability, the
chief justice said: "In the hierarchy of values, judicial
integrity is above judicial independence. Judicial accountability
needs to be balanced with judicial independence."
Disapproving the general tendency to put the entire blame on the
judges for the poor rate of disposal of cases, Chief Justice
Kapadia said: "The executive, including the police, and the bar
have an important role to play in expeditious disposal of cases."
Calling for the rejuvenation of the entire justice delivery system
by "restoring its credibility and people's faith in it", Chief
Justice Kapadia said: "I am an optimist. I do not share the
impression that judicial system has collapsed or is fast
"I strongly believe and maintain that with all the drawbacks and
limitations with shortage of resources and capacity, we still have
a time-tested system," the chief justice said.
The foremost challenge to the judiciary today was the viability of
the system. Citizens approach the court only when there was
confidence in the system and faith in the wisdom of the judges.
This was where the public trust doctrine came in. The institution
stood on public trust, the chief justice said.
"This is no justification to discard the system by giving it a bad
name" merely because of drawbacks and limitations with shortage of
resources and capacity.
Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid said that today an
overall churning was taking place over here as also in the world.
"I want the lawyers to reach out to opinion makers to make them
aware of the compulsions of the legal system," he said.
Khurshid said that the demand for more benches could be resolved
only if the Supreme Court and the high courts looked forward to