NEW DELHI: THE longest-ever Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Monday came under severe criticism from not only the Opposition but also Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, who expressed disappointment over the delay in judicial appointments. Speaking at an Independence Day event organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Thakur used a Urdu couplet to send the message to the government as well as Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, present on the occasion. “Gul fenke auron par, samar bhi, E abr-e-karam, e-behr-e-sakha, kuch to idhar bhi (You gave fruits and flowers to others, but O cloud of beneficence, wave of friendship, do bestow something on us too).”
“I was hoping he (Modi) will speak about issues plaguing the justice delivery system. However, he did not. I request the government to pay attention to our judiciary, especially appointment of judges,” the CJI said.
“You may make roads, schools, hospitals but please also do say something about justice delivery to people. You have something to say on every sector and also have promises. Throw something at us too,” CJI said, adding, “I have reached the peak of my career and from here I have nowhere to go. So I will not hesitate to say anything.”
CJI Thakur’s remarks come days after he threatened to pass orders if the Centre didn’t clear the logjam on judges’ appointments soon.
The CJI’s remarks came after Prasad assured that the government was committed to the cause of judicial independence and said, “Our government is led by ministers who fought against the Emergency. It feels that effective judicial delivery is integral to good governance and appointment is part of it.”
He affirmed that the government was committed to the cause of judicial independence and very soon a Memorandum of Procedure will be finalised after harmonious consultation with the Collegium. “I want to clarify that regardless of that, judicial appointments are going on. The government and the Collegium have to work in harmony. I know the problems.. we will work together,” Prasad said. But the CJI appeared unimpressed, saying if the government remained stubborn, so would the judiciary. “During the British era, a verdict in a case used to come out in 10 years. Today, even 100 years are not enough due to lack of numbers of judges,” the CJI said.