Supreme Court Justice N V Ramana on Saturday said the greatest strength of the judiciary is the faith of people in it and judges must be “steadfast in holding on to their principles” and “fearless in their decisions” to withstand all pressure and odds. 

His comments came in the backdrop of a recent move by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who wrote a letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, making allegations against Ramana. The apex court’s justice remarks are the first since the controversy broke out after Reddy’s letter. 

Ramana, speaking at a condolence meet on Saturday for former Supreme Court judge AR Lakshmanan who died on August 27, said, “The greatest strength of the judiciary is the faith of people in it. Faith, confidence, and acceptability cannot be commanded, they have to be earned”.

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“There are innumerable qualities that a person needs to live what can be called a good life: humility, patience, kindness, a strong work ethic and the enthusiasm to constantly learn and improve oneself”, Ramana said. 

He further said, “Most importantly, particularly for a judge, one must be steadfast in holding on to their principles and fearless in their decisions. It is an important quality for a judge to withstand all pressures and odds and to stand up bravely against all obstacles.” 

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In an unprecedented move, Reddy wrote the letter dated October 6 to the CJI, alleging that the Andhra Pradesh High Court was being used to “destabilise and topple my democratically elected government.” The Andhra CM had requested the CJI to look into the matter and consider initiating steps “as may be considered fit and proper to ensure that the state judiciary’s neutrality is maintained”.

The chief minister had alleged that the senior apex court judge had proximity to TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and that a “former judge of the honourable Supreme Court placed this fact on record”.