‘No case is too small for Supreme Court or too big..’: SC vs Centre war of words

The friction points between the Central government and the Supreme Court is rolling beyond the row over delay in appointment of judges.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has minced no words in criticising the judiciary on several issues at various platforms, and the judiciary has also shot back at Central government — be it long delay in appointment of judges or underscoring that no case is too big or too small for the Supreme Court as it has to answer the cry of liberty of the citizens.

Recently, Rijiju said in the Parliament that the Supreme Court should not be hearing bail pleas and frivolous PILs amid soaring pendency of cases.

In what appears an indirect response to the minister’s criticism, Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Friday said it is the duty of the apex court to interfere in matters of violation of personal liberty, and judges burn midnight oil for it.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha, the Law Minister appealed to the apex court to take up those cases which are relevant and appropriate, and further added that if the Supreme Court starts hearing bail applications and all frivolous PILs, it will add extra burden on it as a constitutional court.

While releasing a man sentenced to 18 years in jail for electricity theft in 9 separate cases, a bench, headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud and comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha said: “No case is too small for the Supreme Court and no case is too big because we have to answer the call of conscience and the cry of liberty of our citizens, that is why we are here… and these are not one of cases, when you sit here and burn the midnight oil, you realise that everyday there is another one like this…”

The top court it is the duty of the apex court to interfere in matters of violation of personal liberty. Releasing the petitioner, the court, in its order, noted: “The right to personal liberty is an inalienable right. In attending to such grievances, the Supreme Court performs its duty, no more and no less…”.

The Union Law Minister, in the Rajya Sabha, had also said that there was a feeling among the people that long court vacations were not very convenient for justice seekers. In a response, the Chief Justice, in a courtroom full of lawyers, on Friday said that “there will be no benches available from tomorrow till January 1”.

Friday is the last working day for the Supreme Court and it will reopen after two weeks’ winter break on January 2, 2023.

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