Frankly admitting that sometimes judicial overreach disturbed the balance between the three branches of the State, Chief Justice of India S. H. Kapadia today cautioned the Government against tinkering with the independence of the judiciary.
“The Government may make a law for making judges accountable. We are not afraid of that. But it should not tinker with the very constitutional principle of judicial independence,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion of Independence Day celebrations in the Supreme Court, he urged the Government while bringing law, it should not lose sight of the concept of judicial independence.
Justice Kapadia was apparently referring to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill which had already been passed by Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
A controversial clause in the Bill states: “No judge shall make unwarranted comments against the conduct of any constitutional or statutory institution or officials at the time of hearing matters in open courts during the course of hearing matters.”
The bill allows the citizens to complain against corrupt judges, but has been facing criticism for this provision which jurists says would “virtually gag” the judges in open courts.
The Chief Justice said the Government must take the opinion of various jurists and take into account various developments around the world before making law.
“We need to make a detailed study before we tinker with the Constitution,” he said while emphasising that any disturbance to the balance of power among legislative, executive and judiciary would “damage the Constitution for all time to come.