Agenda-driven media running kangaroo courts: says Chief Justice Ramana

24 July, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

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Ill-informed and agenda-driven kangaroo courts on television discussions and social media on problems concerning justice delivery are proving harmful to democracy's health, warned Chief Justice of ...

Ill-informed and agenda-driven kangaroo courts on television discussions and social media on problems concerning justice delivery are proving harmful to democracy’s health, warned Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday.

“Recently, we have seen the media operating kangaroo courts, at times on subjects that even experienced judges find difficult to resolve.” Ill-informed and agenda-driven arguments on problems surrounding justice delivery are proving harmful to democracy’s health,” stated the CJI during the Justice SB Sinha Memorial Inaugural Lecture in Ranchi.

Regarding the increasing number of media trials, CJI Ramana stated, “It cannot be a guiding element in choosing cases.”

“New media technologies have immense magnifying power, but they are incapable of discerning between the right and the wrong, the good and the terrible, and the genuine and the phoney,” he added.

Chief Justice Ramana further stressed that the justices’ failure to respond swiftly should not be misinterpreted as weakness or inability.

CJI continued that Biased opinions disseminated by the media impact individuals, erode democracy, and harm the system. Justice delivery suffers as a result of this approach.”

“You are going two steps backward for our democracy by overstepping and breaking your responsibilities. Print media is still held to some degree of accountability. Electronic media, on the other hand, has no responsibility since what it presents evaporates into thin air. Even terrible is social media “he said.

CJI also stated that there is an increase in physical attacks on judges these days.

CJI emphasized, “Can you image a judge who has served on the court for decades, putting serious offenders behind bars, losing all the security that comes with tenure when he retires? Judges must live in the same society as those they have sentenced, with no security or promise of safety.”

CJI also addressed the long-standing issue of judicial review of legislative and executive activities.

He stated “It is commonly stated that judges should not serve in legislative or executive capacities since they are unelected. However, this overlooks the judiciary’s constitutionally mandated tasks. The Constitution provides for judicial scrutiny of legislative and executive activities. I would even say that it is the heart and spirit of the Indian Constitution. People’s trust in our Constitution, in my honest opinion, would have dwindled in the absence of judicial scrutiny.”

“Only a thriving and dynamic democracy can guide our country toward peace, progress, and global leadership. A robust judiciary, on the other hand, is the ultimate safeguard of the rule of law and democracy” said CJI Ramana.

Chief Justice further emphasized that accepting the misleading narrative around the ostensibly simple life of a judge becomes difficult.

Justice Ramana went on to say, “People have the idea that judges live in the lap of luxury, work only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and enjoy their vacations. Such a story is false. It is tough to stomach when misleading narratives about Judges’ alleged easy lives are developed.”

Justice NV Ramana also complimented Jharkhand judiciary on the golden jubilee of the establishment of the Circuit Bench of Patna and expressed his best wishes to the youngsters who earned scholarships under Project Shishu.