New Delhi: A “revolution, not reform” is needed to keep the institution of judiciary serviceable for the common man, senior Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjan Gogoi said on Thursday, asserting that the judiciary would have to be more “pro-active” and on the “front foot”.
He also warned that if the judiciary wishes to preserve its independence, it should remain uncontaminated from external interference. The assertions were made by Justice Gogoi, who is the senior-most judge and is expected to succeed Chief Justice Dipak Misra on his retirement on October 2. Delivering the third Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture on “Vision of Justice”, the judge told a packed Teen Murti Bhavan auditorium here that the judiciary was the “last bastion of hope” and has been “a proud guardian of the great constitutional vision”. The institution has been endowed with great societal trust.
Justice Gogoi, who along with Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had held a controversial January 12 presser in which a litany of allegations were made aga-inst the Chief Justice of India, also said that “independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges” were the first line of defence for democracy. He said that in the first 50 years of independence, the court has created a very sound jurisprudence which “we are reaping now”.
“It is the inertia really that has kept us going till now. But the way things stand today, court processes are a trial even before the trial has begun. While I cannot say if it is a collective failure on our part, but for a nation governed by the rule of law, is it not a matter of concern that to this extent at least, we are defying the idea of inclusiveness? “Not a reform, but a revolution is what it needs to be able to meet the challenges on the ground and to keep this institution serviceable for a common man and relevant for the nation,” Justice Gogoi said.