December 2018
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SC is corruption free, says Justice Kurian Joseph
(New Delhi, Nov 30, 2018):"There is no corruption in the Supreme Court. It has never ever occurred to me. I have never heard about it," former Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurian Joseph said Friday.

He favoured setting up of an administrative committee to assist the office of Chief Justice of India in effectively handling the affairs of the top court.

Justice Joseph, was part of the January 12 press conference in which now Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Lokur and former judge Justice J Chelameswar had raised serious questions over various issues including allocation of cases in the top court.

Talking to media persons on his birthday, just a day after his retirement from apex court, Justice Joseph was asked whether there existed corruption in judiciary, to which he said: "I do not agree with the general observation that there is corruption in the society but I do concede that there is some perception among the people regarding corruption" at some lower levels.

He said that as far as corruption in the Supreme Court is concerned, "I wholly refuse to say there is corruption. It has never ever occurred to me. I have never heard about it".

Justice Joseph said that he along with three top court judges, who were part of January 12 press conference wanted to have an administrative committee, which would have guided the Chief Justice of India in carrying out his duties.

He said majority of the judges who come to Supreme Court have been judges in high courts.

"As far as administration of justice in the high court is concerned, there is something called administrative committee which looks after the administration of justice in the high court. You don't find such committee in the Supreme Court which could help the Chief Justice of India in administration of justice, advising him and guiding him," he said.

On whether such a committee is needed in the apex court, Justice Joseph said, "It is needed. It should not depend on person to person. This is what I am more worried on an institution."

He further said, "If there is an institution there should be institutional systems and practices. Maybe, we have a good person today, maybe we will have a better person tomorrow. Even for such persons also the discussions should be institutional. It should not be personal or individual".

Justice Joseph said that an institution of national importance, should be guided by a collective efforts of people available in the institution and this should be a permanent mechanism.

"There should be appropriate committees, so that there is continuity as what has to happen. When there is no committee then institutional decision are only decisions taken by individual chief justices, who keep on changing them according to their personal perspective," he said.

When told that there already existed a collegium system which could guide the Chief Justice, Justice Joseph said, "Collegium is not meant for that".

"It is meant for the purpose of selection and appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of the high court and appointment of judges in the high court. What I am hinting at is the systems and practices to be followed permanently in the Supreme Court. To me, ideally, it would be appropriate if there are appropriate committees assisting the Chief Justice of India, which includes the judge who are in line to become next Chief Justices", he said.

Justice Joseph said that the status of CJI as first among equal will never change.

When asked about his view that he along with senior top court judges were not part of many recent constitution benches, he said: "When issues of larger public interest concerning the entire country are being discussed, it will be a matter of a stronger public faith and in the credibility of a better institution, if the diversity is better reflected in constituting the benches."

Justice Joseph, said he wanted to be a priest, but later abdicated the idea as "it was not in my route".

He said that in Supreme Court considerable time is wasted on non-issues and the real burning issues which matter to the poor people of the country go to back burner.

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