Urging the government not to lose sight of the concept of judicial independence in enacting laws to make judges accountable, Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia also called for judicial restraint among judges while delivering judgments.

While interpreting the Article of a fundamental right, “we must also keep in mind that there is [an] institutional structure and architecture of the Constitution which provides for checks and balances. Sometimes in our anxiety to do justice we give an interpretation which may disturb the constitutional balance between the three branches [executive, legislature and judiciary] of the government,” he said speaking at the Independence Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) here on Wednesday.

“We the people,” “Rule of law,” all these have very wide concepts. They have to be interpreted keeping in mind the checks and balances within the system. Sometimes these balances are getting disturbed by our judgements and the judges should be very careful when they draft the judgments. If there is judicial overreach, the legitimacy of judicial review will be obliterated.”

Quoting Justice James Jacob Spigelman, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales of Australia, the CJI said: “Justice is like oxygen. There is no reason to notice it if you have it in abundance. However, if you restrict the flow, it becomes more and more important until a point is reached when nothing else matters at all.”

Earlier, Law Minister Salman Khurshid recalled the role played by the Supreme Court over the years in meeting the challenges of equity and conflicting claims. Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati participated in the celebrations. SCBA president P.H. Parekh read out a message from President Pranab Mukherjee underlining the need to make people aware of their rights and also duties to their motherland.

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