Judges' use of protocol facilities should not lead to criticism of judiciary: CJI
Protocol facilities made available to judges should not be used in a manner which causes inconvenience to others or brings public criticism to the judiciary, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud has said in a letter to the chief justices of all the high courts.
The CJI in his letter expressed displeasure over a recent incident in which a judge of the Allahabad High Court sought explanation from railway authorities for “not meeting his requirements” during a train journey.
“A Judge of the High Court does not possess disciplinary jurisdiction over railway personnel. Hence, there was no occasion for an officer of the High Court to call for an explanation from the railway personnel to be placed before His Lordship for kind perusal,” said the CJI.
“Evidently, the officer of the High Court in the above communication was carrying out a direction of the Judge of the High Court in this instance (the Honble Judge has desired),” the CJI said in the letter dated July 19.
In his letter, Chandrachud said communication which has been addressed by an officer of the High Court to the General Manager of the Railway establishment has given rise to justifiable disquiet both within and outside the judiciary.
“Protocol facilities which are made available to Judges should not be utilised to assert a claim to privilege which sets them apart from society or as a manifestation of power or authority,” wrote Chandrachud.
CJI calls for wise exercise of judicial authority
“A wise exercise of judicial authority, both on and off the Bench, is what sustains the credibility and legitimacy of the judiciary and the confidence which society has in its Judges,” the CJI wrote.
Chandrachud said he was writing this to all chief justices of the high courts with a request to share his concerns with all their court colleagues.
“Self reflection and counselling within the judiciary is necessary. Protocol facilities which are made available to Judges should not be used in a manner that is liable to result in inconvenience to others or to bring public criticism of the judiciary,” the CJI said.
In a recent incident, a judge of the Allahabad High Court called for an explanation from railway officials for allegedly not meeting his requirements during a train journey from Delhi to Prayagraj.
Subsequently, a letter was sent by the Registrar (Protocol) of the Allahabad High Court to the General Manager of the North Central Railway, Prayagraj, seeking an explanation on the issue.
(With inputs from agencies)