Judges’ Presser Against CJI Was Disturbing: CJI-Designate SA Bobde

Justice Bobde has given a series of interview about the Collegium system, criticism of judges & other issues.

3 min read
Justice SA Bobde is next in line to be the Chief Justice of India. 

Next in line to become the Chief Justice Of India, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, in an interview to Hindustan Times, termed the press conference by four senior-most judges on 12 January 2018 against then-CJI Dipak Misra a “disturbing event” for the judiciary.

“It was disturbing to see that things in [the] Supreme Court had come to such a pass. I looked upon all the judges as one court, and knew people on what were being called the two sides. I did what came to me naturally.”
Justice SA Bobde to Hindustan Times

In a series of interviews that the CJI-designate has given to various news organisations before he takes office on 17 November, he’s spoken about the Ayodhya case, the collegium system, and criticism of judges on social media.

‘Ayodhya Is One Of The Most Important Cases In The World’

In an interview to NDTV, the judge said that the Ayodhya case was “one of the most important cases in the world”. He said this when he was asked which case was a “milestone” in his career.

“Ayodhya is definitely important. It is one of the most important cases in the world today,” he said.

Justice Bobde was part of the five-judge bench that heard the title dispute in the decades-old and politically sensitive temple-mosque dispute over 40 days.

The verdict in the case is expected to come the day of Chief Justice Gogoi’s retirement, 17 November.


‘Not In Favour of Disclosing Collegium Deliberations’

Bobde further said that he is not in favour of disclosing the deliberations of the Supreme Court's Collegium on the rejection of names for higher judiciary, saying it is not a question of secrecy but a right to privacy, reported PTI.

“I still think that we need to be conservative. The reason is that people’s reputation is at stake. We need to be conservative. Half of the complaints which come are not true. I am saying half as a phrase. And I think that the Collegium and the court should be conservative in these matters.”
Justice Bobde to PTI

He was responding to a question on whether any steps are required to make the Collegium’s functioning more transparent.

“So when you weigh this (privacy) against the need of a citizen, who has nothing to do with him, to know... If you weigh this against the ordinary curiosity. For an ordinary person, it is a kind of curiosity that he wants to know. If you weigh these two, then it is [more] important to be conservative than to disclose everything,” he added.


‘SC Judges Too Get Bothered By Social Media Criticism’

Speaking to CNN News18, Bobde said that not all judges are “thick-skinned”, and get perturbed by what is written about them on social media.

When asked if social media criticism of judges bother him, he said:

“To the extent that it might affect the performance of courts and I see judges who feel harassed. To that extent, it bothers me.”

“Criticism of judges, instead of that of judgments, amounts to defamation… that should not be done,” he added.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times, NDTV, PTI and CNN News18)

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