Perfect, imperfect

No institution in a constitutional democracy, including the collegium, is perfect and the solution is to work out within the existing system, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said on Friday. Speaking at the Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in New Delhi, he said judges are faithful soldiers who implement the Constitution. Since 2015, November 26 is observed as Constitution Day to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly in 1949. Earlier, the day was observed as Law Day.

On the issue of collegium, the CJI said: Finally, criticism about the collegium. I thought I will reserve the best for the last. No institution in a constitutional democracy is perfect. But we work within the existing framework of the Constitution as it is interpreted and given to us. All the judges of the collegium including me, we are faithful soldiers who implement the Constitution. When we talk of imperfections, our solution is to work our way within the existing system. He said getting good people in the judiciary and paying them high salaries would not reform the collegium system.

Getting good people to become judges is first and foremost about inculcating upon minds of young members of bar about the limitless ability which lies in the power of every judge to give good society. Good judging is about being compassionate, good judging is about understanding problems of people, not being judgemental about people whose lives you may not agree with. Good judging is about understanding why a criminal becomes criminal. When we need to have good people within the system, the answer lies somewhere else. That answer lies in mentoring young people by giving them the ability to become judges, he said.