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People have great confidence in courts: Justice Balakrishnan

Tuesday 26 December 2006

`Courts can intervene when Executive fails to do its duties’

KOCHI: Chief Justice of India-designate Justice K.G. Balakrishnan has favoured recording of statement of witness by a magistrate to curb the menace of witnesses turning hostile in criminal cases.

In an interview to PTI on Monday, he said after the 1976 Criminal Procedure Code amendment, there had been growing number of witnesses turning hostile. The Malimath committee report had recommended that a signed statement be recorded by police.

On the ``confrontation’’ between Judiciary and the Executive and the latter’s feeling that the Judiciary was ``overstepping’’ its limits, Justice Balakrishnan said in instances when the Executive was not doing its duties, the courts can intervene.

"Courts are not running the show. People have great confidence on the courts," he said. Pointing out that though there were laws protecting the rights of building workers in the unorganised sector, nothing had been done by many States.

Laws are passed by Parliament. But when they are not enforced, the courts can give directions, he said.

"It is their perception. When somebody’s rights are infringed, the person should have a forum and courts are bound to at least look into the same," Justice Balakrishnan said.

No courts will interfere into the day-to-day functioning of the legislature, he added.


On judicial scandals, Justice Balakrishnan said efforts were being made to correct them. Two or three judges had been asked to resign when scandals broke out in Delhi, Rajasthan and Karnataka, he said.

There are constitutional provisions for impeachment to remove an erring judge. But an impeachment resolution, which has to be moved in Parliament, should get the majority support. Ultimately, it is a political decision, he said.

"The Indian judiciary is being held in high esteem. If a judge is doing something improper, it immediately gets attention," he said.

Asked if cleansing the Indian judicial system was a Herculean task, Justice Balakrishnan felt otherwise.

System working

"I do not feel there is any serious problem with the Indian judicial system. It is working perfectly well, though we can improve the system by hard work, dedication from judges and cooperation of lawyers". - PTI

See online : The Hindu

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