"Four Qualities in a Judge  "

Speech Sub-titles:

INTRODUCT ION
       
MOTILAL  SETALVAD      
TODAY’S TOPIC      
CANONS
Versus PRINCIPLES  

   "JUDICIAL ETHICS A definition"    
"
ATTEMPTED CODIFICATION OF CANONS OF JUDICIAL ETHICS"

   "Things necessary to be continually had in remembrance"     
"
THE CONCEPT OF JUDGESHIP IN GITA"

 

               
Hon’ble Shri R.C. Lahoti,
 
Chief Justice of India  
First M.C. Setalvad Memorial Lecture
 
Tuesday, 22nd Februa ry, 2005.     
at The Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road,  New Delhi . India.

[ for exact contents of Lecture visit official web site of Supreme Court of India http://www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in/judges_speech]

Speech Sub-titles:

 "THREE DOCUMENTS :     
(i) Restatement of Values of Judicial Life (1999)     
                                                                       (ii) The Bangalore Draft Principles  
  (iii) The oath or affirmation by Judge"

    "Oath of a Judge _  analysed "     "Independence and Impartiality"         
"
Four Qualities in a Judge" 

 "Conduct of Judge in private"     "Patience and Tolerance" 
"Rational Utilisation of  Time"       "EPILOGUE"

 


"
   Four Qualities in a Judge  "

RANDOM THOUGHTS :

Four Qualities in a Judge

        A judge has to be possessed of excellence not only from within but he should also visibly display the functional excellence which is necessary to fulfil the constitutional promise of justice by the judiciary as a whole.  Four qualities are needed in a judge which are symptomatic of functional excellence.  They are: (i) Punctuality (ii) Probity (iii) Promptness; and (iv) Patience. 

 

        Justice Hidayatullah has placed observance by judges of the punctuality of time on a very high pedestal.  According to him a judge who does not observe punctuality of time does not believe in rule of law. 

 

Probity is uprightness; moral integrity; honesty. 

 

According to Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer the judges who do not pronounce judgment in time commit turpitude.  He notes with a sense of sorrow –

“It has become these days, for the highest to the lowest courts’ judges, after the arguments are closed, take months and years to pronounce judgments even in interlocutory matters – a sin which cannot be forgiven, a practice which must be forbidden, a wrong which calls for censure or worse.”[28]

 

 

        Lord Denning puts it mildly by way of tendering good advice for a new judge.  He says that when judgment was clear and obvious it was for the benefit of the parties and the judge himself that judgment should be delivered forthwith and without more ado.  Though, the art is difficult and requires great skills but practice can enable perfection.[29]   However, not all judgments can be delivered ex tempore; there are cases in which doubts are to be cleared, law has to be settled and conflicts are to be resolved either by performing the difficult task of reconciling or the unpleasant task of overruling.  Such judgments need calm and cool thinking and deep deliberations.  Such judgments must be reserved but not for an unreasonable length of time.

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[28]ibid p.138  

[29] Edmund Heward, Lord Denning, A Biography, 2nd Edn., pp.35-36.

[30] C. Ravichandran Iyer   v.   Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee & Ors.,   (1995)  5 SCC 457, para 21, per K. Ramaswamy, J.