No restraint needed while enforcing rights: Chief Justice

Judges need not exercise restraint while enforcing basic human rights as it is the duty of the court and not the discretion of a judge, Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan said on Thursday.

Justice Bhushan, the 31st chief justice of Kerala, was speaking at the full court reference held in his honour at the high court on Thursday morning, in the event of his elevation as a Supreme Court judge.

He would be sworn-in as an SC judge at the Chief Justice’s Court in the Supreme Court at 10.30am on Friday. Two other high court judges and a senior Supreme Court lawyer will also be sworn in as SC judges.

“Rendering justice by granting the required relief is not an act of charity or mercy. The protection and enforcement of constitutional rights and freedoms is both the power and duty of the court and the grant of appropriate remedy is not the discretion of the judge but his obligation,” said justice Bhushan.

“Restraint, hence, is neither desirable nor justified in the matter of enforcement of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, since the protection and enforcement of the human rights and liberty of the citizen is both the power and duty of the court and not the discretion,” he added.

However, mercy should not take the place of justice, Bhushan, who served as the Kerala HC chief justice for 22 months, cautioned. “Justice should be tempered with mercy. But mercy is not the substitute of justice. Justice shall not be administered by courts actuated only by mercy, since justice is the recognition and observance of the Constitutional rights of the people,” said the chief justice.

Speaking at the ceremony, high court advocates’ association president S U Nazar said Justice Bhushan earned universal respect during his short tenure and was an endearing chief justice.

In addition to the present high court judges, former judges P K Shamsuddin, G Sivarajan, K Narayana Kurup, and V K Mohanan attended the ceremony. Assistant solicitor general N Nagaresh represented the central government.

Advocate general K P Dandapani, additional advocate generals K A Jaleel and Babu Varghese, director general of prosecution T Asaf Ali, additional director general of prosecution Tom Jose Padinjarekara, registrar general Ashok Menon, state attorney P Vijayaraghavan, and Bar Council of Kerala chairman Joseph John were also present at the function attended by high court registrars and staff, senior advocates, and lawyers.

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