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Lodhi Road, New Delhi
ethics is an expression which defies definition.
In the literature, wherever there is a reference to judicial ethics,
mostly it is not defined but attempted to be conceptualized.
According to Mr. Justice Thomas of the Supreme Court of Queensland, there
are two key issues that must be addressed : (i)
the identification of standard to which members of the judiciary must be
held; and (ii) a mechanism, formal or informal, to ensure that these
standards are adhered to. A
reference to various dictionaries would enable framing of a definition, if it
must be framed. Simply
put, it can be said that judicial ethics are the basic principles of right
action of the judges. It consists
of or relates to moral action, conduct, motive or character of judges; what is
right or befitting for them. It can
also be said that judicial ethics consist of such values as belong to the realm
of judiciary without regard to the time or place and are referable to justice
In all democratic constitutions, or even those
societies which are not necessarily democratic or not governed by any
constitution, the need for competent, independent and impartial judiciary as an
institution has been recognized and accepted.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that in modern times the
availability of such judiciary is synonymous with the existence of civilization
in society. There are
constitutional rights, statutory rights, human rights and natural rights which
need to be protected and implemented. Such
protection and implementation depends on the proper administration of justice
which in its turn depends on the existence and availability of an independent
judiciary. Courts of Law are
essential to act and assume their role as guardians of the Rule of Law and a
means of assuring good governance. Though
it can be said that source of judicial power is the law but, in reality, the
effective exercise of judicial power originates from two sources.
Externally, the source is the public acceptance of the authority of the
judiciary. Internally and more
importantly, the source is the integrity of the judiciary.
The very existence of justice-delivery system depends on the judges who,
for the time being, constitute the system.
The judges have to honour the judicial office which they hold as a public
trust. Their every action and their
every word – spoken or written – must show and reflect correctly that they
hold the office as a public trust and they are determined to strive continuously
to enhance and maintain the people’s confidence in the judicial system.
Alexander Hamilton once said ___ “The judiciary . . . has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither Force nor Will but merely judgment…”. The greatest strength of the judiciary is the faith of the people in it. Faith, confidence and acceptability cannot be commanded; they have to be earned. And that can be done only by developing the inner strength of morality and ethics.
 E.C. GERHART, Quote It, p.300