Editorial With Sujit Nair: A Judge, His Pet Dog And Democracy

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Following Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud’s call for judges not to perceive the privileges they receive as a display of power, a recent incident involving a high court judge misusing his position has come to light. Justice Gaurang Kanth, now a judge of the Calcutta High Court, wrote a letter to the Delhi Joint Commissioner of Police (Security) on June 12, urging the immediate suspension of police officers stationed at his residence. He alleged that due to their incompetence, he lost his pet dog as they failed to follow his security instructions properly. The letter from Justice Kanth, though dated June 12, only recently surfaced online and has sparked widespread discussions. Many have accused him of abusing his official position, pointing to a sense of entitlement prevalent among some members of the higher judiciary. Justice Kanth expressed his displeasure at the behavior of the security officials and demanded an action-taken report from the Delhi Police within three working days. He emphasized that such negligence in their duties could pose a threat to his security and that of his family. He urged the suspension of the officers responsible and called for a thorough investigation into the matter. Notably, Justice Kanth was previously in the news when allegations of breaching trust and abusing his office as an advocate emerged. These allegations were raised by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) regarding a forged sale deed while he was serving as a lawyer and executor for his client’s will. CJI Chandrachud’s recent remarks on judicial authority and the need for self-reflection within the judiciary gain significance in light of these incidents. He emphasized that judges should exercise their authority wisely, both on and off the bench, to maintain the judiciary’s credibility and public confidence. Protocol facilities provided to judges should not be used in a way that inconveniences others or attracts public criticism. The incident involving Justice Gautam Chowdhary of the Allahabad High Court, who faced inconvenience during a train journey, also came to light in a similar context. CJI Chandrachud expressed concern over such incidents and reiterated the importance of not misusing privileges and power associated with judicial positions

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