Judges' :   DOs  +  DONTs  :  Defined

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 February, 2005.     
at The Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre,
Lodhi Road,  New Delhi . India.

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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"



       I deem it a matter of pride, privilege and pleasure for having been called upon to deliver the First M.C. Setalvad Memorial Lecture.  I do not have the good fortune of having ever met or even seen the legendary figure Motilal Setalvad, but, I can claim to know him well for I have learnt about him not from anyone else, but from he himself.    

        My close encounter with Setalvad (as I would put it) was in the year 1971.  I had put in a few years of legal practice.  I had passed through that phase wherein a junior lawyer often acquires the reputation of being a champion of lost cases. I was desperately keen on learning what goes into the making of a good lawyer.  My late father, who was also my guru in the profession and also my role model, advised me to read autobiographies and biographies of great lawyers.  In a law book shop at Indore (where I had taken my instructions in law), I came across – “My Life, Law and Other Things”.  What tempted me at that time to purchase the book was not so much the fact that the book was authored by Setalvad; rather, I felt more fascinated by the fact that the book was published in October, 1970 and within three months a reprint edition had to be brought out in January, 1971.  This fact bore testimony to the demand for the book.  I thought there must be something worthwhile in it.  For the book running into 636 pages well bound in cloth, I paid Rs. 30/- (the printed price) which was out of the hard earned money of a young district court lawyer.  Thirty three years hence, a few pages have started leaving the binding.  Recently I saw the second edition of the book.  On comparison, I found that the only difference between the two editions is a heart-touching but inspiring introduction to the book by Shri Fali S. Nariman, Senior Advocate.  I got the introduction photocopied and added to my old possession as I did not want my tested source of inspiration for 33 years to be replaced by anything new. 


The book is a must for every lawyer, every judge and every student of law, for the message which it carries for everyone associated with law or legal profession.  The book speaks less of Setalvad and more about the contemporaneous events which centred around Setalvad.  It is less of a biography and more of a historical document.  Setalvad himself said – “I have always disliked talking about myself” and yet he said – “I am naturally proud of what I have been able to achieve in the profession and all the services I have tried to render to the public and the country in different fields.  I have attempted in this book to set down an account of my life first of all for my own satisfaction and because it might be an encouragement to others.”    Setalvad is right, I can swear and say that.