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Life of a judge is not a bed of roses, says Supreme Court judge NV Ramana

At a virtual book launch, the SC judge blamed the proliferation of social media for a sudden increase in attacks against judges.

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New Delhi: Justice N.V. Ramana of the Supreme Court Saturday spoke of judges becoming victims of “juicy gossip” and “slanderous social-media posts”.

“As judges are self-restrained from speaking out in their own defence, they are now being construed as soft targets for criticism,” said the judge. He blamed the proliferation of social media for a sudden increase in attacks against judges.

In line to become the next Chief Justice of India, after the retirement of the incumbent CJI S.A. Bobde in April 2021, Justice Ramana was delivering a special talk at the virtual launch of retired judge Justice R. Banumathi’s book, Judiciary, Judges and the Administration of Justice. Justice Banumathi demitted office on 19 July.

At the event, CJI Bobde also addressed the concern highlighted in Justice Ramana’s speech. He stressed the importance of an independent judiciary, which, he explained, was not just limited to independence from executive powers, but from many other “pressures and prejudices.”

“The judicial independence is not for the personal benefit of the judges, but for the nature of power vested with the judiciary,” CJI Bobde said. In fact, even the free speech of judges is also curtailed by the same laws which prevent people from saying whatever they feel like, the CJI emphasised.

And, while both CJI Bobde and Justice Ramana underscored a judge’s tough life and the balance they have to strike between their personal and professional life, neither commented on the top court’s judgment that convicted advocate Prashant Bhushan for his tweets against the present CJI as well as the last four.

A bench led by Justice Arun Mishra (now retired) indicted Bhushan for the “malicious” tweets and imposed a fine of Re 1 on him.


Also read: Not being named judge could have something to do with my sexuality — lawyer Saurabh Kirpal


‘Judge’s life is not a bed of roses’

Justice Ramana, who was more vocal and direct, said there is a misunderstanding that judges lead a life of luxury in their ivory towers. His statement came against the backdrop of the book’s theme — the responsibilities and duties of a judge.

“From my own experience, I can state that the life of a judge is not a bed of roses,” he said, adding that the reality was quite different from what people comprehend. “Best judges of the same are the family members, who are usually torn between restraints and relationships.”

He pointed to the self-imposed restrictions judges follow in their social life to remain independent. And, yet they have become soft targets of criticism that have got complicated by “the proliferation of social media and technology.”

“I believe judgeship in the present day requires sacrifices unparalleled in any other profession, and the same is required to be made as the country’s future is dependent on strong independent judges,” he remarked.


Also read: 4,442 cases against MPs & MLAs still pending in courts across India, oldest dates back to 1983


Covid pandemic will increase pendency of cases

For judges, the CJI said, the biggest challenge is to ensure the “country inches towards the goals set in the Constitution.” To achieve the same, he asserted, an independent judiciary is essential.

However, hand-in-hand with judicial independence goes judicial accountability. “If the public is to give profound respect to the judges, the judges should…maintain dignified conduct and aloofness,” he added. Quoting Winston Churchill, CJI further said: “Judicial service is not merely an employment nor the judges are employees of the government.”

Speaking on the occasion, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of the Supreme Court detailed the initiatives the top court’s e-committee, which he heads, has taken to overcome the challenges thrown at the institution by the ensuing pandemic.

However, according to the CJI, the biggest challenge staring the judiciary is the pendency of cases that has seen an unprecedented rise due to Covid-19. He mooted utilisation of alternate dispute redressal mechanisms such as mediation to ensure early and inexpensive resolution of matters.

Another area of concern, the CJI said, is mental health. The pandemic, he added, has brought about indifference and aggression. In the Supreme Court, he informed the participants, an initiative is being taken to address this issue.


Also read: Let virtual courts continue after pandemic, they are safer & faster, parliamentary panel says


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Judges are speaking harsh truth but are mentally strong…. some are blackmeiling even judges and courts using their pr teams and paid social media teams…

  2. Qualified Lawyers, to Advocacy are be mentally very strong with courage, confidence, and determination, be committed advocates in real practice, with ideal living principles in Courts or elsewhere, in an honourable, worthy way, showing great self-respect, and respect for others with progressive- thinking, by keeping abreast with relevant updates, to fulfill ‘Citizen’s Legitimate Rights’, only then this ‘Profession’ will GLOW with GLORY and be considered, to be the Supreme -Profession among all, with application of the ” Code of Professional Ethcs “thereby knowledgeable, Duty-Conscious to instill requisite discipline,for requisite seriousness in their mindset with commitment to serve fair and just avoiding bias to pressure while in the seat of a ” JUDGE “. Which can bring real “Peace, Happiness and Prosperity” to all, ensuring ” LAW is equal to all ” and that ‘preached to be practiced’, for the general awareness and well-being of all. “Never too late”. Obviously when is at the helm of affairs to take discretion’s, who are subjected to risks and sacrifices. Hence, many do not opt to become a JUDGE give way to others. Rightly said, that not to butter both sides of the bread. Why grumble after occupying the chair of the JUDGE, with the nod of the Govt. who are all a conglomeration of no one quality benchmark. Core PROFESSIONALS to be elevated by their own flock of qualified Advocates, who knows the real eligibile without influencing of the politicians in power. Why this not apply to other professionals in Medicine and Engineering for their professional elevation/ promotion and transfers? as ” Character is REVEALED, when Pressure is APPLIED.” – Dr.Chandran Krishnan Peechulli-A Fellow Chartered Engineer and Corporate Lawyer- Research Scholar in PhD Law. Said in 2016. Foundation Member, Ex. General Secretary, Chennai Society for Fast Justice.

  3. An essay in self-glorification. “ As judges Are self restrained in speaking in their self defence .,,,” but evidently they have no reservations in participating as a part of a panel investigating their own role in a harassment case! They have no scruples in accepting juicy governmental positions post-retirement. I’m not saying that all judges have bartered their souls, but, off late, some of the critical judgements emanating from the Supreme Court do not leave much doubt in the minds of the common people.

  4. Social media is an unregulated, irreverent space. As raucous as Indian democracy itself. Some parts are pretty toxic. However, it is also remarkably well informed, has more freedom to express views than mainstream media. With honourable judges now being tech and media savvy, they might wish occasionally to check the temperature of the water.

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