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Supreme Court collegium’s decision to transfer three high court judges sparked protests by lawyers

As the Supreme Court collegium’s decision to transfer three high court judges sparked protests by lawyers in the affected states, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud on Saturday emphasized that the collegium takes administrative decisions keeping in mind the “national perspective”, adding that defense attorneys’ strikes “suffer the consumers of justice.”

Addressing a felicitation event organized by the Bar Council of India (BCI), the CJI also warned of a “culture of distrust” in the district judiciary, which has made judges wary of granting bail for fear of drawing criticism from the higher judiciary. . District Judges, Justice Chandrachud, must be trusted if the judiciary is to be responsive to the needs of ordinary citizens, and the Constitutional Courts do not want to become dysfunctional due to a large backlog of bailable cases.

Taking the opportunity to address the lawyers, the CJI said, “It is important that members of the Bar realize that when we take decisions in an administrative capacity, we look at things from a national perspective…Of course, always ask those who are in authority, but you must also always learn to trust those in authority to the point that they have their best interests at heart and have to make tough decisions because of it.

Emphasizing the need for harmony and balance to maintain peace in society, the CJI added, “If we don’t take these decisions, it would be like ‘I’m going to have a good time until the constitution tells me to retire’.” But we all have to strive for how the country will be better after two years.” Justice Chandrachud, who presided over his first session of the collegium on November 16 after assuming the helm exactly a week ago, decided to transfer three high court judges, one each from the Madras, Gujarat and Telangana high courts, for administrative reasons. The move drew protests from high court lawyers from those states and several bodies decided to go on strike.

However, Justice Chandrachud said on Saturday that every problem can be solved through dialogue and cooperation. “When lawyers go on strike, who suffers? It is the consumer of justice for whom we exist, and not the judges, not the lawyers, who suffers…Maybe even the lawyers because after a few days the fees would stop, but the biggest sufferer is the consumer of justice,” the CJI warned, adding strikes. must give way to cooperation in a democracy.

“The district attorneys will look at it from the perspective of the district judiciary. The members of the High Court will look at it from the perspective of that particular High Court. But we have to keep looking. I always tell my High Court colleagues that the Supreme Court will not change your decision because you are wrong, but sometimes our view is from a national perspective,” he continued.

The CJI added that during his two-year tenure at the head of the judiciary, he would do everything to preserve the institution of justice and protect the interests of our common citizens. Protests by lawyers from the three states also failed with Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju. “Now lawyers are on strike over some issues. In the following days. we can see it more often, we have to decide whether it is good for the institution or not, and if you don’t respect the institution, then you don’t respect yourself,” said Rijiju, who was also present at the CJI fete. The minister added that if every decision of the college, which has the support of the government, is questioned, then it will lead to problems.

On November 16, the collegium started the transfer process of Acting Madras High Court Chief Justice T Raja, Telangana High Court Justice A Abhishek Reddy and Gujarat High Court Justice Nikhil S Kariel. While Justice Raja is slated to be transferred to the Rajasthan High Court, the other two judges have been recommended for transfer to the Patna High Court, according to people briefed on the matter.

Meanwhile, the CJI pointed out that the reason why the higher judiciary is inundated with bail applications is the reluctance of courts to grant bail. “And why do judges at the lowest level hesitate to grant bail? Not because they don’t have the skills. They probably understand this better than the high court judges because they know that crime is at a grassroots level, but there is a sense of fear that if I give bail, someone will target me tomorrow for bailing in a heinous case? This sense of fear that no one talks about, but we have to face it, and if we don’t, our district courts will be toothless and our superior courts dysfunctional,” he noted.

Justice Chandrachud called it a “culture of mistrust” and wondered why we should mistrust someone who provides relief to citizens. “If you make a mistake, it’s certainly possible to correct that mistake. And it’s not that we never make mistakes at the Supreme Court. As they always say, the Supreme Court is not final because it is right, but it is right because it is final. The process of administering justice is so inherently human that we must learn to trust our district judiciary, and when we do so, we can respond to the needs of ordinary citizens,” he emphasized.

The CJI also emphasized the importance of opening up the legal profession to all sections of society from its current patriarchal and caste structure. “This structure of the legal profession, which is patriarchal and sometimes so caste-based, must change so that we as lawyers fulfill our responsibilities to our society and open up advocacy to people from different communities and marginalized groups of our society. ” he said.

According to the CJI, a system of equal opportunities for women and marginalized sections in the legal profession must now be put in place to ensure that the judiciary has due representation in times to come. “If we don’t create an equal opportunity judiciary today, then the problems facing the marginalized, not just women, will pervade our legal profession for decades to come,” he said.

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