Law Officers Of Government Need To Function Without Fear Or Favor- Justice C.T. Ravikumar
While inaugurating the Conference of Central Government Counsel- Southern Region 2022 being held today in the auditorium of the Kerala High Court, Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice C. T. Ravikumar said that the law officers of the government need to work without fear or favor.
The Judge said that with respect to various government counsel working at a different level under a different title, there is an "expectation of the public and the Court system that they be shielded from political influences and that they should always be fair and unbiased officers of the Court, respecting their duty towards the Court while balancing their functions and responsibilities".
Justice Ravikumar spoke at the inaugural session of the program where the presidential address was delivered by T. Suryakaran Reddy, the ASGI of Southern Zone.
Advocate Rajesh Vijayan, the President of the Kerala High Court Advocates' Association and a member of the Bar Council of Kerala was felicitated during the function.
Justice Ravikumar started his speech with a caveat that he will have to be careful about what he says. He added that every sentence spoken will be scanned and meaning that one never thought of may be given to the words. He said that therefore he is sticking to a written speech.
Justice Ravikumar said that "legal luminaries in India and around the world have always placed the Indian constitution on a high pedestal owing to its unique feature of being a living document in a true sense, as it always has room for accommodating various changes as and when demand arises in our society. Indian Constitution has always shown the capacity of positively coming through in all sorts of situations truly deserving to be respected and designated as the fountain from which authority to all shall flow in this country".
Justice Ravikumar said that the Constitution beautifully pairs up with all other laws of the land to lay down an ideal way of governing the nation.
Speaking about government law officers, the Judge said that there is a need for experts of law as law officers to defend the government as well as to assist the Court to render justice to the people of the country.
The Judge added that being someone with experience as a government pleader for 7 years, he can vouch that the function of a government pleader includes determining the question of prosecution policy strictly keeping legal criteria and public interest in mind, excluding any political influence, as a rule of law triumphs all other considerations.
Justice Ravikumar added that the government being a party to more than 45% of cases in India, making it the biggest litigant in the country, the role of government counsel become significant. Courts cannot work without the support of their law officers. The office of a government counsel is undoubtedly a public office thus extending their duties to rendering assistance not just to the Court of law but to the public at large by ensuring public interest at every step, the Judge said. With great power comes great responsibility, law officers need to function without fear and favor, he added.
Justice C. T. Ravikumar quoted Justice V. R. Krishnaiyer's words in Mundrika Prasad Sinha vs State Of Bihar (1979 AIR 1871), "It is in the best interest of the State that it should engage competent lawyers without hunting for political partisans regardless of capability."
Union Minister of Law and Justice, Kiren Rijiju will address the conference in its valedictory session in the evening today.