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April - May 2006


Spotlight

New Chief Justice of India sworn in

Justice YK Sabharwal is the new Chief Justice of India. He took oath of office in November 2005. Honesty and fearlessness are the main traits of his personality. Born in January 1942, he got his LLB in 1964 and started his practice in the Delhi High Court. He was appointed as Additional Juge of Delhi high court in November 1986. He became Chief Justice of Bombay High Court in February 1999. He was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court in January 2000. He will hold the post for 14 months.

Already in the last couple of months, Chief Justice Sabharwal has shown his mettle facing up squarely to the encroachments of the legislative and executive branch of the government. The challenge of Jharkhand case when JMM leader Shibu Soren was administered the oath of office by Governor Syed Razvi was met boldly by the Supreme Court quashing the Governor’s decision. And again in the case of governor Buta Singh’s decision to dissolve the Bihar Assembly, the Supreme Court,under CJ Sabharwal, declared it ‘unconstitutional’. At this critical juncture, Indian democracy needed a man of Justice Sabharwal’s character to fetter the greed and misuse of power by the executive arm of the government. Even legislators have been misusing their power by grabbing whatever they can in the short tenure of their membership of legislative bodies they are elected to.
Besides dealing with corruption in high places, Mr. Justice Sabharwal is deeply concerned about environmental issues facing the country. It may be a matter of encroachments of forests, unauthorised mining in fragile Aravali hills or poaching of tigers, leopards and other endangered species or pollution in the metropolitan cities, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Sabharwal is actively dealing with them in ‘public interest’.

The new Chief Justice does not intend to be secluded in his ‘ivory tower’ of the apex court. He is open in press meetings; and is willing to address every question thrown at him. He has also agreed to appoint an Information Officer for the Supreme Court.

CJ Sabharwal brushes aside any talk of conflict between Judiciary and legislature. He emphatically said in a recent Press Conference,”Each has a role to play in the constitutional scheme of things. Law-making is the legislature’s work. Our is implementtion of the law and its interpretation.”
On matters of corruption within judiciary, the new Chief Justice believes in zero tolerance of corruption in public life. We wish him best of luck during his tenure.

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