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No regrets about Jan 12 presser: Ex-SC judge Joseph

No regrets about Jan 12 presser: Ex-SC judge Joseph

New Delhi: A day after he retired, former Supreme Court Judge Kurian Joseph on Friday said that he has no regrets over the controversial January 12 press conference in which he along with three other judges flagged various issues with regard to functioning of the top court, and noted that things are changing.

Joseph, who was part of the press conference in which the now Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M B Lokur and former judge J Chelameswar had raised serious questions including over allocation of cases in the top court, said the systems and practices in the apex court would take time to change as they have been there for quite long.

He also asserted that there is no political pressure in exercise of judicial powers by a judge, but added that the manner in which appointments are "selectively delayed" or "withheld" is "in a way interference" in administration of justice.

Asked whether he regrets being part of the January 12 press conference, he replied, "What a strange question you are asking? I never regretted whatever I did, I did it very consciously for a cause and for a cause for which there was no other way left. That was the stage, when we did it".

When asked whether the crisis to which they had referred was now over in the apex court, Joseph said, "You can't say it fully that the crisis is over because it was an institutional crisis, so it takes a long time for the systems and the practices to change. Hopefully it would change".

Referring to CJI Gogoi, Justice Joseph said, "It's because one who was part of the clamour for change is also now the captain over there so things should change".

He said that the systems and practices have been there in the apex court for quite a long, so it would take time for them to change, "though it is changing".

"The process of change will continue. Even the earlier chief justice made changes after the press conference," he said.

When Joseph was asked whether the problem of roster is now over in the apex court, he replied, "Probably that is the one mistake. It is not a question of roster.

"It was question of some unhealthy practice and systems which were followed in the Supreme Court but in the matter of business actually. So it was against that although roster was one of the issues but there were other issues along with that," he added.

Elaborating on issues raised in the press conference, Justice Joseph said, "As I told that roster was one of the issue but not the only issue. There were certain systems and practices which we have been asking like instead of individual taking a decision without consulting anybody, let's have some systems and practices to be followed which would be healthy for the institutions".

He said "it does not look nice particularly for an institutions like a court to have an individual exclusively or solely taking a decision".

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