`CJI more like a serpent without fangs`

A Karnataka HC judge has questioned the moral authority of CJI in the backdrop of the Justice Dinakaran controversy.

Updated: Dec 27, 2009, 22:49 PM IST

Bangalore: Questioning the moral authority of Chief Justice of India in the backdrop of the Justice Dinakaran controversy, a pro-active Karnataka High Court judge says the top-most judge is more like a "serpent" without fangs who can only hiss but not bite.

In one of the strongest attacks ever on the head of the
country`s judiciary, DV Shylendra Kumar, who raised eyebrows
in taking the lead on the issue of assets disclosure by
judges, fired a salvo again at on the efficacy of the "moral
authority" the top judiciary in ensuring that erring judges
fall in place.

"The concept that the Chief Justice of India, being the
head of judiciary in the country, and therefore, can exercise
his moral authority to ensure that erring judges fall in place
and behave themselves, is a misnomer and misconception,"
he said.

Justice Kumar made these remarks in an article on
"Judicial Accountability" published in the souvenir of the
Karnataka State Advocates Conference, being held in Hubli
today. The article has also been posted on his blog.

"The mere moral authority of the Chief Justice of India,
is of no value or significance, unless it can have some
binding effect, which is not provided under the Constitution,"
Justice Kumar wrote.

"The Chief Justice of India, in so far as the relative
position for such purpose is concerned, is more like a serpent
without fangs, who can only hiss, but not bite, which will be
an open secret in no time and the serpent will not be feared
by anyone, however menacing it may look, however loud it may
hiss! Unfortunately, that is the reality."

"I say so, for the reason that an errant judge is a
person who has breached the moral code of conduct, is a brazen
person on whom no moral authority binds, nor does he respect
moral authority and, therefore, the so-called moral authority
of the Chief Justice of India as the figure-head of the
judicial family, has virtually no effect on such errant
judges," Justice Kumar said.

He also doubted the effectiveness of the impeachment
proceedings in the present system against judges of the
superior courts.

Referring to the impeachment motion moved against
Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran in the Rajya Sabha,
Justice Kumar is of the view that for the present there is no
other mechanism to discipline an errant judge of a superior

He said, "If the past experience is any indication, the
impeachment procedure does not work in reality and practice,
more so in the present political system in the country with
fragmented political parties and views."

Justice Kumar, who has been critical of Justice Dinakaran
continuing to discharge administrative functions after staying
away from the bench, said, "Judicial accountability is a
phrase, which sounds incongruous and can convey conflicting

"The phrase has assumed importance in the wake of the
improper, irregular and incorrect manner of functioning of
judicial officers even amongst the judges in the superior
courts," he noted in an apparent reference to the land-
grabbing charges being faced by Justice Dinakaran.