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Do not compromise on integrity: CJI

By Our Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI NOV. 26. The Chief Justice of India, V.N. Khare, today said the judicial office was essentially a public trust and there could be no compromise on the integrity and impartiality of the person holding such an office.

Speaking at the Law Day function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, the CJI said the "judicial office is essentially a public trust" and enumerated the fundamental principles that a judge should keep in mind after being elevated to the post.

He said: "Society is entitled to expect that a judge must be a man of high integrity, honesty and required to have more vigour, ethical firmness or venial influences."

Further, "any conduct which tends to undermine public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judge would be deleterious to the efficacy of the judicial process. There cannot be any compromise on these fundamentals," Mr. Justice Khare said.

He said an onerous duty had been cast on the courts to protect the integrity of the judicial process which required that stringent standards be imposed upon the administration of justice.

"A judge is always a judge and he cannot have a split personality with different traits at different times. All actions of a Judge must be judicious in character," he said.

"For efficient discharge of the responsibilities of the courts, it is essential that the broad confidence, which people have in them, the high prestige and the great respect that they have enjoyed should be maintained and be not allowed to be eroded in any way," he said.

Mr. Justice Khare said holding of Lok Adalats across the country had remarkably achieved the target in bringing down the arrears of cases in High Courts and subordinate courts.The Union Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, said the Centre was seriously considering a proposal to increase the strength of judges of the Supreme Court which was now 26 in view of the fact that more cases were being filed in the apex court.

He pointed out that recently the Centre had increased the strength of High Court judges by 94 posts.

He said the fairness of our judiciary and the faith reposed in it by the citizens was one of the reasons why people were moving up to the highest court of the land in quest of justice. This, he said, had increased the burden on judges though the pendency rate was negligible in the apex court.

Mr. Jaitley said the Constitution had provided for clear separation of powers of Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive and this separation should be honoured by every institution.

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