Judges have no qualms about remarks on their judgements but to comment on the background of judges who deliver a verdict is not correct, Chief Justice of India designate Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said on Wednesday.
“Conversation on social media is akin to discussions that used to take place at tea stalls or clubs. Social media has simply changed the mode of expression and the reach. The difference between the description and described will be there always,” Justice Bobde told Hindustan Times in an interview.
The CJI-designate said he thinks that “as judges, we should not participate on social media and agonise over these things. We have a lot more work to do.”
Asked about the judiciary’s scrutiny on social media, Justice Bobde said this wasn’t a legitimate exercise of freedom of speech and expression. “Judges have no qualms about receiving remarks on their judgements. But to comment on the composition of benches or the background of judges who deliver a verdict is not correct,” he said.
The CJI-designate’s remarks come against the backdrop of recent demands on social media and in the court that a judge, who had decided on a land acquisitions case, shouldn’t be part of the larger constitution bench that was to revisit the case.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that Justice Arun Mishra, a senior judge who is heading the constitution bench hearing petitions on the law acquisition law, will not recuse from the case following opposition by farmland owners on grounds that Justice Mishra had authored one of the two judgements that has been referred to the constitution bench to determine its correctness.
The constitution bench which Justice Mishra heads was formed to end the stalemate over interpretation of section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act that involves fair compensation to landowners whose property is acquired by the state for public purposes and return of the land in case it is not utilized for the acquired purpose.
In February 2018, Justice Mishra was a part of a bench that ruled that land acquisition by a government agency could not be quashed for the delay on the part of landowners in accepting compensation within five years due to reasons like lingering court cases.
In 2014, another verdict had held that land acquisition can be quashed on account of the delay in accepting the compensation.
In March last year, the Supreme Court decided to set up the constitution bench to test the correctness of the verdicts delivered by these two benches of similar strength on the same issue.
Oct 31, 2019 00:37 IST