CJI Ramana’s key observations in 2021

The Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana in his 8-month tenure as the head of the Supreme Court chaired several key judgments of the Apex Court in 2021.

Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana

The Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana in his 8-month tenure as the head of the Supreme Court chaired several key judgments of the Apex Court in 2021. CJI Justice N.V. Ramana made various observations on many contemporary issues like democracy, freedom of speech and expression, problems faced by the judiciary, custodial deaths, lack of debate in Parliament while making laws, among others.

Here are a few impactful remarks of the top judicial officer of the country:

Pegasus snooping: On the national security umbrella

Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said the Centre may decline to provide information when constitutional considerations exist, such as those pertaining to the security of the State. However, this does not mean that the State gets a free pass every time the spectre of “national security” is raised. National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from, by virtue of its mere mentioning.

The bench, headed by CJI Ramana, held:

“In a democratic country governed by the rule of law, indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards, by following the procedure established by law under the Constitution.”

Belling the bureaucracy over air pollution: ‘You want to ban industries in Pakistan’

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana pointed out the bureaucracy’s failure to take measures to curb the air pollution that has engulfed Delhi and surrounding areas.

‘So you want to ban industries in Pakistan?’ CJI Ramana said in reply to the Uttar Pradesh government when they said that U.P industries have no role in the rising pollution in the NCR and polluted air from Pakistan deteriorates the air quality of the Capital. 

CJI Ramana said during one of the hearings on the worsening air quality of Delhi: “Bureaucracy has gone into inertia and they don’t want to do anything. For using sprinklers or water buckets, we have to say. This is the attitude of the executive.”

‘TV debates creating more pollution’

During the hearing of the case related to air pollution in Delhi, the CJI said debates on television channels were creating more pollution than anybody else. It said everybody had their own agenda and statements were taken out of context during such debates.

Vacancies in the tribunals: No respect for our judgments, says CJI

Tribunals play an important role in legal justice delivery system. Vacancies in tribunals are a big issue. Many tribunals did not even have a Chairperson. While hearing a matter regarding pending vacancies in Tribunals across the country, the CJI had harshly criticized the Union Government over the delay.

CJI remarked that there was no respect to the judgments of this court.
He sadi: “You are testing our patience! How many persons were appointed? You said some persons were appointed?”

Safety of judges and courts, and the social media menace

The way judges are being targeted in the court premises is worrying. The issue of safety of judges has become very important now. CJI N. V. Ramana has taken this very seriously. The CJI had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue of security of judges and courts after the death of Jharkhand Additional District Judge Uttam Anand.

CJI Ramana told Attorney General K.K. Venugopal that the judges of the country are being attacked not only physically but mentally as well. That post is also being circulated on social media by threatening and sending intimidating messages on WhatsApp.

‘Welfare state has to ensure no one dies of hunger’

CJI Ramana emphasized that a welfare state has a constitutional duty to ensure that no one dies of hunger. He said this while granting time to the Central Government, as the last opportunity, to frame a pan-India policy on community kitchens after taking the view of different state governments.

‘Police officials who side with ruling party later targeted when rivals come to power’

The CJI had made comments about the trend of police officials siding with the party in power and later getting targeted when the opponent comes to power. His remark came while hearing a petition filed by suspended Additional Director General of Police Gurjinder Pal Singh seeking protection in a sedition case filed against him.

CJI to NCB: What is the need of trial if you are putting people in jail for years?

The CJI asked the Narcotics Control Bureau: “What is the need of trial if you are putting people in jail for years?”

He made this remark while hearing the bail application of a 66-year-old man accused under the NDPS Act who has suffered incarceration for around 4 years. The Bench had also directed to release the accused on bail after taking considering that he has been in custody since October 16, 2017 was no likelihood of completion of trial in the near future.

Also Read: From observations on legislature, media to increasing the presence of women in judiciary: CJI Ramana’s key speeches in 2021