Supreme Court is one, Bar our guiding angel, says CJI Dipak Misra in first speech post crisis in judiciary
CJI Dipak Misra, in his first address since the apex court was caught in controversy, said the Supreme Court was united even in its differences.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in his first address since the apex court was caught in the midst of a controversy, said that the Supreme Court was united even in its differences as he underscored the importance of giving lawyers the due respect.
CJI Misra was speaking at the farewell of Supreme Court Justice RK Agrawal on Friday at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
Misra, who was the chief guest at the event, said it was the duty of the judges to show respect to the lawyers irrespective of their their age or status.
"The Supreme Court is one. The Bar nurtures us and on every occasion, I have told the young members of the Bar to be the guiding angels. It's not the age, it is the entry into the Bar that makes you an angel. Whatever be your stature or status, you deserve respect and it is the duty of the judges to show respect to the members of the Bar despite their age or status," he said.
On Justice Agrawal, the CJI said he was "getting liberated from one assignment...If you feel envy, you are boycotting him. If you are jealous, you give him another five years to work. When, where and how, I can't say."
"But if that is the desire of the Bar, definitely you will have it. And I take it as a concurrence from the Bar that you want him somewhere. I hope there is no disagreement," Justice Misra said.
Justice Agrawal, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, was sworn in as a Judge of the top court on 17 February, 2014.
In his farewell speech, Justice Agrawal said young lawyers were the "oxygen of the legal environment".
"If only we give them fair opportunities of drafting and arguing, that will enable them to shoulder more responsibilities. Young lawyers are the oxygen of the legal environment.
He said that the Bar and the Bench were indispensable to a free society. "The relationship of Bar and the Bench is akin to two sides of a coin. Neither has a primacy over the other. Both are indispensable to a free society," Justice Agrawal said.
He said that the independence of judiciary was one of the foundations of democracy and the freedom of the Bar presupposes an independent judiciary.
"The independence of judiciary is one of the foundations of democracy and lawyers have worked hard to maintain the pillars of democracy. The freedom of Bar presupposes an independent judiciary through which their freedom may, if necessary, be vindicated," Justice Agrawal said.
The SCBA President Vikas Singh referred to Justice Agrawal's farewell speech, which he had rendered in Chennai while he was the High Court Chief Justice there, and said that he had called for unity among the bar and the bench for the betterment of the judiciary.
"It's a very moving speech given by Justice Agrawal and it is so relevant for all of us here today because we have to all make a pledge that we will all strive to make our institution, the Supreme Court a great one and, do nothing, either in court or outside to any manner damage the prestige of this institution," he said.
Justice Agrawal's retirement brings back the shortfall in number of judges in the top court to seven. The Supreme Court will now have 24 judges with a sanctioned strength of 31.
Recently, senior advocate Indu Malhotra was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge, becoming the first female lawyer to be accepted on the top court's Bench directly.
However, the apex court remains grossly short staffed with respect to global standards.
As per the information made available by the Supreme Court of India to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, the total number of pending cases in the apex court as on 18 December 2017 was 54,719.
The number of cases pending in the court for more than 5 years was 15,929, which is more than 29 per cent of the cases. Those waiting for disposal for more than 10 years constituted 1,550 cases.
If the data were compiled separately for cases pending for more than 5 years and more than 10 years respectively, over 32 per cent cases i.e. around one-third of total cases in the top court have been hanging fire for more than 5 years.
With inputs from PTI
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