Justice Katju: Protocol facilities to judges

By Justice Katju
I entirely agree with the Chief Justice of India who said recently that judges should not treat protocol facilities as manifestations of power




It appears that an Allahabad High Court Judge was upset over what he regarded as ill treatment by the railway personnel during his train journey from New Delhi to Allahabad. At his instance the Registrar General of the High Court wrote a letter to the railway authorities making basically two complaints :
(1) There were no GRP ( General Railway Police ) personnel to meet his requirements.
(2) Pantry car workers did not attend to the judge’s requirements to provide refreshments.
Now I have travelled several times by train while a judge, but never expected GRP personnel or pantry car workers to attend on me. Why should the police attend on me ? And as for food and water, I would always bring it with me for the journey.

When I became Acting Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court ( in August 2004 ) I saw a policeman on a motor cycle in front of my car, and a jeep full of armed policemen following my car, when travelling from my home to the High Court. I asked my secretary ( who was in my car ) ” Who are these jokers ? ”. He replied that they were my escort. I said I dont need any, tell them to buzz off.

My secretary said that under the relevant rules, the Chief Justice must have an escort, so I had no choice in the matter.

After I became Chief Justice of Madras High Court ( in November 2004 ), I travelled by train from Chennai to Madurai ( where a new bench of the High Court had been created ). A huge number of policemen along with other officials were at Madurai railway station to receive me. From the station to the High Court building is about 10 kms distance, and at every 100 or 200 yards on the route there were policemen standing in the sun to salute me.

In the evening I called the IGP, Southern Range, and told him that police are meant primarily to protect the public. By deploying half or more of the police force in Madurai to salute me he had left the public unprotected, so that thieves and other criminals could have a field day. I told him I have no ego problem, and requested him not to do this in future.

After I became Chief Justice of Delhi High Court ( in October 2005 ) some of my colleagues in the High Court complained that they were frisked at the airport during security check, and this was an insult. I said everybody is frisked at the airport at security, and judges are not a privileged class above the law.

As the Chief Justice I too always spread my hands at the security check at the airport, and found no loss of dignity in being frisked
Judges must have modesty and humility, and not behave like Emperors

2 thoughts on “Justice Katju: Protocol facilities to judges”

  1. The attitude and approach of Hon’ble Justice Katju makes him a special personality. His behaviour with his subordinates is a lesson for most of the high profile dignitaries who believe themselves as super human VIPs and above the law. Respect is earned by one’s behaviour and not commanded is the lesson to be learned from a high profile personality in Justice Katju.


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