Supreme Court, its judges don’t have to be fund collectors for govt: Justice SK Kaul

Supreme Court, its judges don’t have to be fund collectors for govt: Justice SK Kaul

Justice SK Kaul, on his last working day, was emphatic that the judges must be “bold” and remain committed to the administration of justice. The Supreme Court and its judges are not the “fund collectors” for the Government, justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said on Friday, adding principles of law are more important than the stakes a case may carry.

Addressing from a ceremonial bench set up to bid adieu to the second most senior judge of the top court, justice Kaul, not the one to mice his words, was emphatic that the judges must be “bold”; remain committed to the administration of justice and should discourage adjournments because a litigant approaches the apex court after a spate of difficulties. More at Click Here

The judge, who has repeatedly through his judgments supported freedom of expression and artistic creativity, also appealed for tolerance of contrary views, pointing out that people must live to learn with each other so that the world does not shrink into a small place.

Justice Kaul has to demit office on December 25. However, Friday turned out to be his last day in office because the Supreme Court goes on a winter break starting December 18. It will reopen in the first week of January.

Supreme Court, its judges don't have to be fund collectors for govt: Justice SK Kaul

“I do not believe that we are the fund collectors for the government. Stakes are not important. What is important is what the principle of law it carries. And that this court has administered justice. As it is expected — without fear of favour,” said justice Kaul.

He added that the boldness of a judge is of utmost importance if they expect other stakeholders and institutions to show courage. “Boldness of a judge is a very important factor. If, with the constitutional protections which we have, we are not able to exhibit this, we cannot expect other parts of administration to do so,” the outgoing judge emphasised.

Justice Kaul dearly fondly what a senior colleague told him when he joined the Supreme Court in February 2017. “He told me that a litigant comes to the court as a last resort, of his being through the various processes and he finds that there are no solutions. If he owes 50 given 55, don’t give him 45 because with great difficulty he comes to this court.

Set to hang up his boots after serving as a judge for more than 22 years that including a stint of more than six years in the Supreme Court, justice Kaul stressed that the independence of the judiciary must be protected and that the bar and the bench ought to work together for it. “Ultimately, there’s no other method by which the judiciary can stand up for itself. And I think it is the duty of the bar to support the judiciary. Yet, I agree that the bar is the judge of judges. I fully appreciate that,” he added.

Supreme Court, its judges don’t have to be fund collectors for govt: Justice SK Kaul

Justice Kaul also addressed another important malady of the court system – adjournments. He said that courts must function because that’s the expectation with which the litigant comes to the court. “As a lawyer, I felt that an adjournment culture was prevalent and felt it was not right. I have always believed that. A case must be taken up on the day it is listed,” underscored the judge, adding the confidence between the bar and the bench must grow to speed up hearings of cases in the top court.

Associated with two powerful judgments negativing a ban on paintings of MF Husain and a novel by author Perumal Murugan, justice Kaul called for greater tolerance among people. “People must have tolerance for each other’s opinion. I think that’s the greatest message I would like to give. We are at a time in the world where the tolerance levels have gone very low…Internationally, nothing to our country specifically. It’s time the human species learn to live with each other and live with other species of this world…to be able to adjust to it so that the world remains the large place it is and doesn’t become a small place,” he added.

In 2008, justice Kaul quashed the obscenity case against late MF Husain and backed the painter, who was forced to go into exile after his painting of Mother India as a naked woman was accused of hurting religious sentiments. Presiding over a bench in the Delhi high court at that time, the judge found nothing wrong in Husain’s work, holding that art is a coming of age and each form of expression in art, from naturalism to abstract expressionism derives its strength from the artist’s emotional pursuits of his perceptual reality. More new Click Here

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