Judge cannot afford to lose objectivity: CJI Ramana

·4-min read
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana (File photo/ANI)
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana (File photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], July 17 (ANI): The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday said that a judge should never be deterred from his duty to protect the right of one against the might of many and as a repository of people's faith, a judge cannot afford to lose objectivity.

The CJI was speaking at the launch of live streaming of Gujarat High Court proceedings and also released the Live Streaming Rules of the High Court.

He said a judge cannot be swayed by popular opinion and if justice demands standing up against the popular perception, he must do so out of his commitment to the oath he took under the Constitution.

"Yes, with increased public gaze, he might become a subject of multiple debates, that should never deter him from his duty to protect the right of one against the might of many. Always remember, as a repository of people's faith, a judge cannot afford to lose objectivity," CJI Ramana said.

The CJI said that he is keen to start live streaming in at least a few of the courts at the Supreme Court.

He stressed the importance of live streaming of Court proceedings and said it is important for the dissemination of information as a part of Article 19 of the Constitution.

"We are keen to start live proceedings at least for some of the courts in the Supreme Court. We are working out the logistics and working on the consensus of the full court. With the aid of modern technologies, I am given to understand that we can introduce this live streaming feature in a cost-effective manner without imposing much of a burden on the exchequer," he said.

The CJI said that a lack of transparency in the justice delivery system also hinders access to justice and live streaming is the best remedy.

"Truth be told, even after 74 years of independence, multiple incorrect notions still prevail in the minds of the public regarding the justice delivery system. These prevailing notions and misapprehensions ultimately hinder access to justice, as they may dis-incline people to seek redressal of their rights. It is high time for de-mystifying the justice delivery system in the country and furthering access through open courts. Access to justice will become a true reality when litigants and interested parties get to witness, understand and comprehend justice dispensation first hand," said the CJI.

He said that at present people obtain information about court proceedings through the media.

"In effect, the information from the courts is being filtered by agents of transmission. In the process, there is sometimes a transmission loss leading to misinterpretation of questions asked and observations made by the bench, due to the absence of context. Vested interests are eager to amplify these misinterpretations in order to embarrass or discredit the institution," the CJI said.

"It is this lack of direct access which gives space for misconceptions. The formalisation of the live streaming of court proceedings is the best cure for the aforesaid malady. Live streaming of proceedings is crucial for the dissemination of information which is a sacrosanct aspect of Article 19. Through such direct access, the people can get first-hand information about the entire proceedings and the opinions of the judges, leaving little room for any mischief," he added.

He said that although a step in the right direction, one must tread the path with caution.

"At times, live streaming of proceedings may become a double-edged sword. However, judges might feel the pressure of public scrutiny, which may ultimately result in a stressful environment that may not be conducive to justice dispensation."

He noted that the committee under the leadership of Justice DY (also the Chairman of e-committee of the Supreme Court of India) is playing a wonderful role in bringing all the courts on board to unleash the transparency revolution with the aid of modern technology.

Justice Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah also participated in the inauguration and addressed the audience.

He lauded the efforts of Gujarat High Court's Chief Justice Vikram Nath for taking the initiative to live-stream the high court's proceedings.

Justice Chandrachud said that live streaming has become a necessity and it adds to transparency.

He further spoke about the misconceptions that prevail regarding judges' functioning.

"We are targeted for the holidays we take but judges are working every single part of the day, it is easy to target judges for the holidays that we have, but people don't understand the immensity of the work that the judges do even when they have time off," Justice Chandrachud added. (ANI)

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