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Outgoing CJI says Judges should not take post 2 yrs after demitting office

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New Delhi: In a significant remark, the outgoing Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha has said judges should not take any constitutional or other position at least two years after demitting office. Justice Lodha ‘s comments assume significance in the context of controversy over his predecessor S Sathasivam taking up the post of Kerala Governor recently.
To avoid such situations, there is a need to scrap the laws that require Tribunals and Commissions to be headed by judges, he said.
“That is an individual choice. My view is that a Chief Justice or a judge must avoid taking any position, constitutional or otherwise—and at least must not accept that position for two years after demitting his office,” Justice Lodha told a magazine.
The outgoing CJI, who demits office on Saturday, is known for speaking out his mind on issues.
Asked whether it is alright for judges to accept gubernatorial posts, Justice Lodha said whether it is CJI, or a Supreme Court judge or a High Court Chief Justices, post-retirement assignments must be avoided.
But, he acknowledged that there were many laws where Commissions and Tribunals are required to be either headed by CJIs or judges. “That actually needs to be amended and needs to be done away with.”
On his five months as CJI, Justice Lodha said he felt he was leaving it better than when he stepped in.
Asked about the view that the Judicial Accountability Bill and Judicial Appointments Commission Bill were signs of the executives trying to hobble the judiciary, he said if they do not affect the judiciaries institutional independence and integrity then there should be no worry.
“What is vital is the judiciaries institutional independence should not be tinkered with,” Justice Lodha said.

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