Don’t want to join politics, says K.G. Balakrishnan


New Delhi: Outgoing Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Tuesday said he entertained no political ambitions after retirement.

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“I don’t want to join politics,” Balakrishnan told reporters here on the eve of his retirement.

The chief justice also said he did not subscribe to the view that judges should not take up assignments soon after their retirement. He said there were positions reserved only for judges and there was a shortage of judges.

Asked if he was likely to be chairman of the National Human Rights commission (NHRC), Balakrishnan said: “I have not been contacted.”

The position of the NHRC chairman has been kept vacant for nearly a year now and there are reports that the outgoing chief justice may be appointed to it.

During the 45-minute-long interaction with mediapersons here, Balakrishnan dealt with a host of issues, including separation of powers, absence of political intervention in the judicial functioning, permitting foreign law firms in India, collegium system of selection of judges, backlog of cases, Provident Fund scam, honour killings and resistance of the apex court to the Right To Information (RTI) Act, among others.

The chief justice said there could never be an absolute separation of powers between the three organs of the state. He said the lines dividing the three organs always remain blurred. He also denied that courts were engaged in framing judicial legislation.

He said that the judicial functioning in the country was insulated from political interference. This, he said, however, did not mean that individual judges did not have their political views.

On the collegium system of selecting judges, Balakrishnan said that if there could be a better system then it could be looked into. But for the time being the existing system would continue as it was governed by the judgment of the apex court. He said he was open to the review of the existing collegium.

The chief justice said he was not opposed to sharing information under the RTI Act per se but was opposed to divulging information that concerned other judges and was confidential in nature.

On permitting foreign law firms to practice in India, Balakrishnan said it had to be reciprocal and not one way. He said that Indian lawyers were working in foreign law firms but not practicing there.