CANONS VS. PRINCIPLES  

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"

 

CANONS VS. PRINCIPLES  

I wonder why not ‘Principles of Judicial Ethics’ and why the ‘Canons of Judicial Ethics’.

          ‘Principles’ are fundamental truth, the axioms, the code of right conduct.  Much of these remain confined to theory or hidden in books.  Canons are the type or the rules perfected by the principles put to practice.  Principles may be a faculty of the mind, a source of action which are a pleasure to preach or read.  ‘Canons’ are principles put into practice so as to be recognized as   rules of conduct commanding acceptability akin to religion or firm faith, the departure wherefrom would be not a pardonable mistake but an unpardonable sin.  Let us bear this distinction in our mind while embarking upon a voyage into the dreamland called the ‘Canons of Judicial Ethics’.  

         Canons are the first verse of the first chapter of a book whose pages are infinite.  The life of a Judge i.e. the judicial living is not an easy thing.  Things in judicial life do not always run smoothly.  Performing the functions of a judicial office, an occupant at times rises towards the heights and at times all will seem to reverse itself.  Living by canons of judicial ethics enables the occupant of judicial office to draw a line of life with an upward trend travelling through the middle of peaks and  valleys.  In legal circles, people are often inclined to remember the past as glorious and describing the present as full of setbacks and reverses.  There are dark periods of trial and fusion.  History bears testimony to the fact that there has never been an age that did not applaud the past and lament the present.  The thought process shall ever continue.  Henry George said – “Generations, succeeding to the gain of their predecessors, gradually elevate the status of mankind as coral polyps, building one generation upon the work of the other, gradually elevate themselves from the bottom of the sea.”  Progress is the law of nature.  Setbacks and reverses are countered by courage, endurance and resolve.  World always corrects itself and the mankind moves ahead again.  “Life must be measured by thought and action, not by time” – said Sir John Lubbock.  

          Observance of Canons of Judicial Ethics enables the judiciary to struggle with confidence; to chasten oneself and be wise and to learn by themselves the true values of judicial life.  The discharge of judicial function is an act of divinity.  Perfection in performance of judicial functions is not achieved solely by logic or reason.  There is a mystic power which drives the Earth and the Sun, every breeze on a flower and every smile on a child and every breath which we take.  It is this endurance and consciousness which enables the participation of the infinite forces which command us in our thought and action, which, expressed in simple terms and concisely put, is called the ‘Canons of Judicial Ethics’.