I was keen to join active politics, but destiny wanted something else: CJI Raman

Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, 23 July

A month before demitting office, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday said that he wants to join active politics but is set to become a judge.

Delivering the inaugural Justice SB Sinha Memorial Lecture on ‘Life of a Judge’ in Ranchi, CJI Ramana said, “I was eager to join active politics, but destiny desired otherwise. The decision to leave something for which I had so much Worked hard, it was not easy at all.”

In his live-streamed address, the CJI stressed on the need to strengthen the judiciary and empower the judges to make India a vibrant democracy. However, he lamented that the number of physical assaults on judges is increasing in the country.

“Can you imagine a judge having served on the bench for decades, putting hardened criminals behind bars, once he retires, losing all the protections that come with tenure? The judges have to live in the same society without any security or assurance of safety, the society they have convicted,” said the CJI, who retires on August 26.

“Politicians, bureaucrats, police officers and other public representatives are often provided security even after retirement because of the sensitivity of their jobs. The irony is that judges are not given equal protection,” Justice Ramana said.

CJI Ramana said that one of the biggest challenges before the judiciary was prioritizing cases for adjudication as judges cannot turn a blind eye to social realities.

Discussing the future of the judiciary in India, he said, “The burden on the already weak judicial structure is increasing day by day. There have been some reactions in augmenting the infrastructure… However, I have seen the challenges of the judiciary in the near future. Haven’t heard of any concrete plans to prepare to face the century, leave a long-term vision for the century ahead.”

“… this dangerous issue of infrastructure can be resolved only with the coordinated efforts of the judiciary and the executive,” he said.

“In my opinion, it is the need of the hour to start a multi-disciplinary study, where scientific methods can be used to prepare our judiciary for the future. With the growth of economy and population, there is a need to provide justice. There is a need to model a sustainable method. Given the present situation, the reality is that we are not capable of dealing with the growing challenges of the future. If the judiciary is suffering, our democracy is suffering. This is a serious issue,” CJI said.

He said that non-filling of judicial vacancies and non-improvement of judicial infrastructure are the main reasons for pending cases in the country.

The CJI also tried to dispel the misconception in the minds of the people that judges live in utmost comfort, work only from 10 am to 4 pm and enjoy their holidays. “Such narrative is untrue,” he said.