New Delhi: Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu, says he rates Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "a good leader" and "a good human being."
"I rate him as a good leader, good human being and a man with a foresight and one who wants good governance," the Chief Justice said when asked today by reporters how he rated PM Modi.
He said the demands of the judiciary had been taken care of by the government and that it was always good for all three wings of democracy work - the executive, the legislature and the judiciary - work according to set standards. "There has been positive response from the government, and it is very good," Justice Dattu said.
The Chief Justice also said that he is not upset that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) will replace the collegium system, where judges make judicial appointments. "I am not upset that our power has been taken away. Parliament does its job, and we do our job," he said.
The Chief Justice said he saw no conflicts arising in the transition from the collegium system to a functional NJAC. "There are three vacancies in the Supreme Court, and nothing stops us from filling these vacancies, because the new law of appointing judges will have to be notified. It may take three months and I don't think the Centre will ask us to hold the appointments," said Justice Dattu.
He said he would like the Supreme Court to function more as an ajudicator of Constitutional issues. "We want the Supreme Court to function as a Constitutional court, to decide on Constitutional issues instead of deciding on anticipatory bail and cases involving facts. I feel lawyers should restrict their arguments on the main issues," said Justice Dattu, in response to a question on pendency of cases at the top court.
He said case arrears had been brought down from 64,000 to 60,000 in the past four months, and that the target was to further bring it down to 50,000 by May 2015.
Justice Dattu also said the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court would conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations of sexual harassment against a senior judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
In a lighter vein, Dattu, a known Carnatic music buff, said he has been missing the arts ever since he took over as Chief Justice. But, he said, he enjoys work. "I enjoy my post, and I believe whatever you do, if you do it with a smile the results will be good," he said.