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'No Case is Too Small for SC': CJI Notes A Day After Law Minister's Remarks

Supreme Court's duty is to act on matters of personal liberty, says CJI after law minister’s remarks on bail pleas.

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"...if we do not act in matters of personal liberty and grant relief, then what are we doing here?" Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud asked on Friday, 16 December, a day after Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju remarked that the Supreme Court should hear constitutional matters, instead of spending time on bail pleas and PILs.

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According to LiveLaw, the CJI added:

"When you sit here, no case is too small for the Supreme Court and no case is too big. Because we are here to answer the call of conscience and the cry for liberty of the citizens. That is why we are here. These are not one off cases. When you sit here and burn the midnight oil, you realize everyday there is one case or another like that."

But when did he say this?

The CJI's comments came in an order granting relief to an appallent who had been ordered 18 years in prison (in consecutive sentences) for mere theft of electricity.

When informed by former Madras High Court Judge Nagamuthu, whose assistance was sought by the apex court, that the appellant's punishment had become "a life sentence", the CJI said:

"Therefore we need the Supreme Court."

What had the Law Minister said?

Addressing the Parliament on Thursday, Rijiju had said that the apex court should only hear those cases which are appropriate for consideration by a Constitutional court. According to LiveLaw, he further added:

"If the Supreme Court starts hearing bail applications and starts hearing all frivolous PILs, it will definitely cause a lot of extra burden on the Honourable Court, because Supreme Court by and large is treated as a Constitutional court," he said."

(With inputs from Livelaw.)

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Topics:  Kiren Rijiju   Law   CJI 

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