Justice to judiciary
Often hailed and decried as one of the prominent faces of judicial activism, Rajendra Mal Lodha, who took office as the 41st chief justice of India on Sunday, is indeed a treat to the institution of judiciary. Evidently the last bastion of good sense, Supreme Court has always had fine judges gracing its top bench. After P Sathasivam, the senior-most in the judicial echelons, Lodha, has presided over many a fascinating and landmark judgment, particularly making acid attacks a serious crime, punishable by at least 10 years of prison sentence, and pronouncing greater autonomy for the Central Bureau of Investigation. In fact, it was a bench comprising Justices Lodha and Mukherjee which had coined that famous term ‘caged parrot’ for the CBI, advising the Bureau to stop taking orders from its political masters. Lodha had also shown proactive interest and keen sense of justice when he gave a number of orders related to probe in coal scam, going to the extent of declaring that the CBI need not wait for government orders in case of a court-monitored probe. Moreover, Lodha’s bench had also ordered that CBI would not share information with the political executive on coalgate probe, underlining the complicity of the government machinery with the wide-scale fraudulence that is the coal block allocation scam. Lodha has also presided over landmark orders that asked for government-set guidelines for conducting clinical trials in the country, much to the consternation of the big pharmaceutical companies which treat third world countries as a backyard to dump all the undertrial dugs. Lodha has dealt with all branches of all, be it constitutional, civil, company, criminal, taxation and labour. Someone who has always put the interest of people before the vested interests of private individuals, and has not shied away from intervention wherever required, Lodha is just the right man to head Indian judiciary.