02 August, 2021

"Judges Have New Ideas About Power"

Senior CPI(M) parliamentarian and eminent lawyer Somnath Chatterjee spoke to Outlook about judicial activism. Excerpts

"Judges Have New Ideas About Power"

Do you think the judiciary is overstepping its limits? For example, the recent directives to the CBI by the Patna and Delhi High Courts.

The trouble these days is that legal and judicial matters are being considered on the basis of the personalities involved. You cannot decide on rightness or wrongness on the basis of whether A or B should be taught a lesson. My personal view is that it is only in extraordinary circumstances that an authority like the CBI director should be supplanted. When I say this, let me make it clear that I am not speaking in favour or against Laloo Yadav but on legal principles. So all I can say is it needs a strong reason to supplant a legal authority.

I hold no brief for Laloo. If he is guilty, let him suffer. But you find a situation whereby over the CBI head, a body has been created consisting of two officers. It is strange that sometimes the CBI is placed on a pedestal and sometimes it is accused of not functioning properly. Anyhow, the court has selected the CBI as its agency. It has said officer A, B...

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