Somnath Bharti finds excuse, says 'Holds highest regard for judiciary'

New Delhi, Jan.7: Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who is in a centre of a controversy over his spat with the state government's Law Secretary A.S. Yadav, on Tuesday tried to excuse himself by saying that he held the judiciary in highest regard and that he will never try to curtail its independence.

"I have the highest regard for the Judiciary as I am a lawyer myself. I think, there is some sort of confusion. I will never try to curtail the independence of the judiciary. I will talk to them and clear the confusion," he said.

"I have asked time from the Chief Justice of High Court, and will be meeting him today. I will explain all the things to him because the independence of the judiciary is sacrosanct," he added.

"As a law minister, I need to explore all the possibilities and will provide all the help needed by the judiciary," he said.

On political parties accusing them of being in a hurry, he said, "We are not in a hurry. Probably the earlier systems were too slow."

Last week, Bharti is learnt to have rebuked Yadav when the latter expressed his inability to convene a meeting of Delhi court judges at the state secretariat.

Yadav is said to have told Bharti that the judiciary is independent of the executive, and that as per established administrative norms, only the Delhi High Court has the authority to summon and preside over a meeting of lower court judges.

Yadav, a district judge, who is on deputation to the Delhi State Government, tried to reason with Bharti, himself a lawyer with an IIT background, that it was unthinkable for a minister or anyone representing the executive to summon a meeting of judges. He said the Delhi High Court exercises exclusive administrative jurisdiction over judges in the state.

Yadav's contention, however, was rejected by Bharti, who accused him of being loyal to the old Congress regime. Bharti also said that Yadav was placing obstacles in the path of the AAP Government's plan to ensure speedy delivery of justice.

Meanwhile, Yadav has written a letter to Delhi Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, apprising him of the development. He also is learnt to have also met Ramana and requested that he be repatriated back to the judiciary.

Yadav is reported to have told the Delhi Chief Justice that it had become difficult for him to work with the present administrative set up in Delhi, and therefore, would like to resume the role of a district judge in his parent cadre.

Chief Justice Ramana is learnt to have assured Yadav that the Delhi High Court would protect him against any vindictive action by the state executive.

--ANI (Posted on 07-01-2014)

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