Supreme Court judge Justice J Chelameswar, who had sparked the biggest judicial controversy of the country with a press conference questioning the functioning of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has now said that removal of CJI is “not the answer to every question”.
Speaking at a programme organised by Harvard Club of India on Saturday, Justice Chelameswar asserted on the need to fix the system rather than moving to “impeach” the Chief Justice of India.
“I don’t know why this nation is worried about impeachment. Impeachment is not the answer. System must be fixed. Impeachment looks like the word which is the flavour of the season,” said the Supreme Court judge, referring to a motion reportedly being prepared by opposition parties to seek removal of CJI Misra from his post.
He, however, again made a reference to issue of rostering of judges on important cases. While maintaining that the Chief Justice is the “master of roster”, Justice Chelameswar also talked about the “responsibilities” that come with power.
“The CJI is the ‘master of roster’. Undoubtedly, the CJI has this power. The CJI has the authority to constitute the benches but under constitutional system every power is coupled with certain responsibilities,” he said.
He added, “The power is required to be exercised not because it exists but for the purpose of achieving public good. You don`t exercise the power merely because you have it.”
This comes less than a month after the senior Supreme Court judge had expressed concern over “bonhomie” between the judiciary and the government. In a letter to CJI Misra, Justice Chelameswar had said that any such move would sound the “death knell” for democracy.
Justice Chelameswar had also reportedly urged the CJI to convene a full court to deal with the issue of alleged executive interference in the judiciary.
Through his letter, the copies of which were also sent to 22 other apex court judges on March 21, Justice Chelameswar has questioned the probe initiated by Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari against District and Sessions Judge Krishna Bhat at the request of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, despite his name being recommended for elevation twice by the Collegium.
Meanwhile, Justice Chelameswar ruled out seeking government employment after he retires on June 22. “I am saying it on record that after my retirement, I will not seek any appointment from the government,” he said.