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Fundamental rights bedrock of Constitution, cannot compromise: Chief Justice of India

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There can be no compromise on a citizen’s fundamental rights, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said on Sunday while responding to the assertion of Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad that governance “must remain” with those elected to govern.

On Prasad’s remark that “PILs cannot become a substitute for governance”, the CJI said the Supreme Court believed in and practised “constitutional sovereignty”.

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“The fundamental rights are in the core value and the bedrock of the Constitution. An independent judiciary with the power of judicial review has been conferred with the power of the ultimate guardian of the Constitution to strike a balance … to ensure that respective governments are functioning as provided by the law within their respective domains,” he said.

There can be no compromise with the citizen’s fundamental rights, he said at a function organised by the apex court to celebrate Constitution Day.

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“The citizens’ rights have to be at the pinnacle,” Justice Misra asserted.

Calling the Constitution a “lucid” and “living” document, he said, “The Supreme Court of India today believed that we are only under Constitutional sovereignty and we shall practise it”.

Though no right was absolute, there should be no fetters which “destroy the central dogma of the constitution”, the CJI said at the function, inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Justice Misra said the focus of the judiciary should be on reducing pending cases, rejecting frivolous litigations and stressing on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to settle cases.

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