New Delhi: Chief Justice of India-
designate Sarosh Homi Kapadia on Sunday cautioned against judicial
activism and made it clear that judges who comment on ethics
of politicians should themselves be strong on ethical
"When we talk of ethics, the judges normally comment
upon ethics in the politicians, students and professors and
others. But I would say that for a judge also, ethics, not
only constitutional morality but even ethical morality should
be the base of the judge," he said.
Justice Kapadia, who takes over as CJI from Justice K G
Balakrishnan on May 12, cautioned judges against over-stepping
their briefs through judicial activism.
He takes over at a time when some members of the higher
judiciary are facing allegations of corruption. Justice
Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court and Karnataka High Court
Chief Justice P D Dinakaran are facing impeachment proceedings
"If the judge is clear on concepts...he will be able to
decipher the difference between judicial activism and judicial
restraint," Justice Kapadia said at the end of a two-day
conference on reforms in legal education.
These are his first comments at an official platform
after being appointed as the next CJI.
Quoting from a recent book by a British judge, he said
"judicial activism beyond a point is against the rule of
law...and that is why I always tell my brother judges please
see to it we also should continue to learn."
He also used the opportunity to slam senior lawyers of
the apex court for not taking time out to teach young
In other countries, senior lawyers contribute to
journals and teach students. "Unfortunately, I don`t see
that kind of dedication from senior lawyers of the Supreme
Court," he said.
He also sought to know the number of senior lawyers
present in the conference. "Are they so busy that they cannot
spare half-an-hour to say something to the young students, to
inspire them" he wondered.
If the goal of reforms in legal education is to be
achieved, then efforts have to be made from all sides, he
In his address, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said, "we
look forward to dramatic changes in the justice delivery
system," from the next CJI.
In an advise to lawyers and new breed of law students,
he said the focus should be on understanding commercial laws
as large investments from abroad in the near future will
require knowledge in this aspect.
He said an impression was gaining ground in foreign
countries that India lags behind in commercial laws and
lawyers here do not have proper knowledge in the field.
Justice Kapadia said not many law students attend
courts when important cases come up for hearing.