Judges to use utmost discretion in making courtroom comments: President Kovind

Indiscreet remarks by judges in the courtrooms can give space for dubious interpretations to run down the judiciary, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday as he expressed pain at how disparaging remarks have been made against the most trusted institution of the judiciary of late on social media platforms
President Kovind on Saturday addressed the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts who had gathered for the 72nd Constitution Day celebrations in the Capital. (ANI PHOTO.)
President Kovind on Saturday addressed the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts who had gathered for the 72nd Constitution Day celebrations in the Capital. (ANI PHOTO.)
Published on Nov 27, 2021 06:23 PM IST
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ByAbraham Thomas

Indiscreet remarks by judges in the courtrooms can give space for dubious interpretations to run down the judiciary, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday as he expressed pain at how disparaging remarks have been made against the most trusted institution of the judiciary of late on social media platforms.

President Kovind was addressing the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts who had gathered for the 72nd Constitution Day celebrations in the Capital.

Having once been a lawyer practicing at the bar, the President said, “There is no doubt that you have set for yourself a high bar. Hence, it is also incumbent upon the judges to exercise utmost discretion in their utterances in the courtrooms. Indiscreet remarks, even if made with good intention, give space for dubious interpretations to run down the judiciary.”

He referred to a remark by Justice Frankfurter of the U.S Supreme Court who emphasized that the essential quality of judges is detachment, founded on independence. Quoting Frankfurter, the President said, “History teaches us that the independence of the judiciary is jeopardized when courts become embroiled in the passions of the day, and assume primary responsibility in choosing between competing political, economic and social pressure.”

The judiciary, according to him, has conformed to the highest standards of conduct while discharging its responsibility and for this reason it remains in people’s view, the most trusted institution. President Kovind said, “It pains me no end, therefore, to note that of late there have been cases of some disparaging remarks against the judiciary made on social media platforms.”

The President hoped this was an aberration and it would be short-lived. However, he wondered what could be behind this phenomenon, stating, “These platforms have worked wonderfully to democratize information, yet they have a dark side too. The anonymity granted by them is exploited by some miscreants.”

He also emphasized about curbing pendency of cases and reducing cost of litigation adding, “The issue of pendency has ramifications for economic growth and development too. It is high time all stakeholders find a way out by keeping national interest above all. Technology can be a great ally in this process.”

Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and Supreme Court judges AM Khanwilkar and L Nageswar Rao also spoke on the occasion. Justice Khanwilkar said, “We need to rationalize and even prioritize case management apparatus” as courts are unable to deliver justice within reasonable time due to “clogging of dockets” and “tattered legal system”. He said that presently a common approach is adopted to deal with claims involving one lakh or a high stakes matter involving 1 lakh crore, which is affecting the development of the country.

Law minister Rijiju said that judiciary has a crucial role in development as many infrastructure disputes are pending adjudication in courts. “The role of judiciary in the adjudication of infrastructure disputes and keeping the larger national interests in mind is crucial for the flow of developmental trajectory and overall project costs,” he said. Realizing the need to augment judicial infrastructure, he further stated, “The present Government is sensitive to the needs of providing well equipped judicial infrastructure to subordinate judiciary to facilitate administration of justice in a manner that allows easy and timely delivery of justice to all.”

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022