Nothing wrong in PM visiting Supreme Court, says Lokur

PTI
Wednesday, 23 January 2019

"I don't know what do you mean by distance. Are you suggesting that I shouldn't see the face of the Prime Minister? There was nothing wrong in inviting PM to a public function. It was perfectly okay to open the doors of the Supreme Court," the former top court judge said. 

NEW DELHI: There was nothing wrong in Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the apex court premises and meeting Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, former Supreme Court Judge Justice Madan B Lokur said on Wednesday.

He added however that although judges should stay away from political thicket, they should "not be hermits or be sitting in ivory tower".

"I don't know what do you mean by distance. Are you suggesting that I shouldn't see the face of the Prime Minister? There was nothing wrong in inviting PM to a public function. It was perfectly okay to open the doors of the Supreme Court," the former top court judge said. 

"You are reading too much into it and stretching it too far," he said responding to a question at an interaction that CJI Gogoi agreed to the wish of the PM to have a look at the CJI's court room.

Chief Justice Gogoi had invited the prime minister to attend a dinner he was hosting on November 25 for judges from the BIMSTEC countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. 

On the January 12, 2018 unprecedented presser, held by four senior judges, including him and CJI Gogoi, against the functioning of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Lokur said it was worth holding and it achieved something.

The presser brought some openness in the functioning of Supreme Court, he added.

"I think it (presser) was worth it. I am sure we achieved something. Little bit of openness in system. We had discussion with the then CJI but when we did not get positive response, we thought it appropriate to let know people know what we think," Lokur said at the interaction organised by the legal new portal The Leaflet. 

He further said evidence of corruption needs to be taken into account before elevation of judges.

Though Justice Lokur accepted that sometimes judiciary had over stepped, he refused to agree that it has over reached.

He said there were large number of issues needed to be discussed for better functioning of judiciary.

Justice Lokur declined to comment on the functioning of Justice Gogoi as the CJI.

He, however, said that if allegations are levelled against any judge or the CJI then it troubles him.

He said he would not take up any government assignment.

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