Apex court disapproves of its judge’s remark

April 8th, 2008 - 11:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday disapproved of remarks from one of its judges questioning the utility of public interest lawsuits (PILs) in serving popular causes. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran disapproved of Justice Markandey Katju’s observations April 1 questioning the utility of PILs. He remarked that courts are not the panacea for all ills plaguing the country.

Citing a PIL pending before the chief justice’s bench that is seeking the court’s intervention for cleansing of the Yamuna river, Justice Katju April 1 remarked: “Take the Yamuna cleaning plan. Rs.14 billion has been spent because the court directed cleaning up.”

“See what happens. The river still stinks. The other day, I had to perform my mother’s last rites at the riverbank. It was stinking. So many directions have been given. What is the result?” Justice Katju asked while hearing a lawsuit seeking direction to the government for strict implementation of traffic laws.

In an apparent reference to Justice Katju’s remark, though without naming him, the chief justice’s bench Tuesday observed: “Some say despite spending Rs.14 billion on cleansing of the Yamuna, the river is still a drain.”

“But has there been any study on the negative or the positive effects of the PILs?” Justice Raveendran asked.

“We cannot say PILs are bad. Some PILs are positive, some are not. But if something good is done, it’s not reported. When something is bad, it is highlighted,” observed the chief justice, also blaming the media for often ignoring the positive results of PILs.

Maintaining that “PILs have done many good”, the chief justice observed: “Sometimes something small makes a big change.”

The chief justice approved of the PIL’s utility in serving the public causes while hearing a lawsuit for improving the working condition of the employees of the thermal power stations.

It’s for the second time that Justice Katju’s remarks or judgements have been disapproved by the bench of the chief justice.

A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice had Feb 21 virtually snubbed him by scrapping his controversial direction to the Uttar Pradesh government to restore the provision of anticipatory bail in the state.

The bench had said: “Remarks (for restoration of law for anticipatory bail) made by Justice Katju shall not be part of the judgement because the remarks were not related to the subject matter of the case which was before the court.”

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