Speech Sub-titles:


   "JUDICIAL ETHICS A definition"    

   "Things necessary to be continually had in remembrance"     


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:

(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"


According to Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, a Judge is a person bestowed with ‘excellence’.  This concept, I am inclined to mention in the context of the year 2005 being an ‘Year of Excellence in Judiciary’.  A judge ought to be bestowed with the sense of complete detachment and humility.  He ought to remember that he is not himself an author of his deeds.  He is only an actor who has to play his role conforming to the script which represents the Will of the Author-playwright and thus surrendering himself to the will of God.  According to Islam, such surrender is the supreme act of religion.  While the essence of Christian daily prayer is – “Thy will be done, O Lord!”.  A judge, according to religious concepts whether of Hinduism, Islam or Christianity, would never be heard claiming with egotism that a particular judgment was written by him or a particular sentence or decree was pronounced by him.  He would always feel and proclaim that all that he had done or he does is to carry out the will of God. His every action he would surrender to the God and thereby be a totally detached and humble person.  The seriousness of the function performed by him would never disturb or overtake him in his deeper mental state, just as an actor on the stage may fight, kill or love but he is the least affected one, as he never forgets it is a play after all.  This detachment is an equilibrium born of knowledge.  The Lord says - “He who is the same to foe and friend and also in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment, to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent __ uncomplaining __ content with anything, homeless, steady-minded, full of devotion  __  that man is dear to me.”[13]

“The essence of the teaching of the Gita is to transform karma into karma yoga: to be active in body but detached in mind.”[14]

Hindu philosophy beautifully compares a judge with a flower which would never wither and remains ever fresh.  An anecdote very appropriately explains this concept – “A religious discussion was to take place between Adi Shankaracharya and Mandan Mishra. Sharda or Saraswati was judge. Both were offered similar asanas to sit on. Having plucked fresh flowers, Sharda strung two identical garlands. She put them round the necks of the two scholars and said, “During the discussion, the garlands will decide the winner and the loser. 

The wearer of the garland whose flowers fade first will be considered to have lost….”  Sharda maintained that he who possessed intellectual clarity, power of thinking and self-confidence will be calm and peaceful.  His voice will be like the cool spring. Therefore, the flowers will remain fresh for a longer time. 

On the other hand, one who does not have a clear intellect or a strong sense of logic or whose self-confidence staggers, will be frustrated. His voice will become harsh, the circulation of blood in his veins will become rapid and his breath will become hot. Hence the flowers around his neck will wither sooner.”[15] The fragrance and freshness of flowers become a part of the personality of a judge if what he thinks and what he does are all based on such values as are the canons of judicial ethics.