Independent journalists and noisy judges democracy’s first line of defence: Justice Ranjan Gogoi

The assertions were made by Justice Gogoi, who is the senior-most judge and is likely to be recommended to succeed Chief Justice Dipak Misra on his retirement on October 2.

Published: 13th July 2018 12:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2018 06:18 AM   |  A+A-

Justice Gogoi, who along with Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had held a controversial January 12 presser.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi. (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Implying that the January 12 Press conference by four senior judges of the Supreme Court was required, Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday said that independent journalists and noisy judges were needed at times.

Modifying a quote from an article, Justice Gogoi said “not only independent judges and noisy journalists, but even independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges” were democracy’s first line of defence.

He said that if the judiciary wished to preserve its independence, it should remain uncontaminated by external interference.

Justice Gogoi was speaking at the third Ramnath Goenka Lecture organised by The Indian Express.

Speaking on the topic ‘Vision for Justice’, Justice Gogoi said “fierce independence” was the “bedrock of justice”. “But I would like to add that ‘independence’ must always be responsible, with due regard to established constitutional values,” he added.

Earlier this year, on January 12, Justice Gogoi had, along with three of his Supreme Court colleagues, Justices J Chelameswar (now retired), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, held an unprecedented Press conference, making public a letter they had written to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in November raising questions on various issues pertaining to the functioning of the court, particularly allocation of cases to different benches.

“It’s a discharge of debt to the nation which we have done,” Justice Gogoi had said.

Stressing on the importance of judicial independence, Justice Gogoi said, “I will only say that if it wishes to preserve its moral and institutional leverage, it must remain uncontaminated. And, independent. And, fierce. And, at all times. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So is an institution.”

He also observed that the judiciary had never been in the news as much as it was now.

“Public institutions, one of them being judiciary were tweaked when the need was felt to give life to the prodigious idea of justice,” Justice Gogoi said.

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