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Jul 23 72 tweets 15 min read
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana to deliver inaugural ‘Justice S B Sinha Memorial Lecture’ on “Life of a Judge” being organised by National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi.

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CJI NV Ramana: Justice Sinha was a great crusader of human liberty. This topic of lecture was often discussed by Justice Sinha with his colleagues and his friends.

CJI NV Ramana: at the end of second world war, it was clear for modern democracies that law is not a mere one way projection of authority.

CJI NV Ramana: Renowned scholars have therefore argued that a law cannot be classified as a law unless it imbibes the ideals of justice and equity.

CJI NV Ramana: Any enactment devoid of the object of substantive fairness can never be justified on the grounds of meeting procedural fairness alone.
CJI NV Ramana: A judge in a modern democracy cannot be defined as someone who merely states the law. A judge holds a unique position in the democratic scheme. He bridges the gap between social realities and the law.

CJI NV Ramana: Secondly, he protects the spirit and value of constitution. It is the courts and judges who balance formal democracy with substantive democracy. We are living in a complex society which is always evolving.

CJI NV Ramana: The transition is driven by knowledge, science and technology, quality of human resources and host of other factors.

CJI NV Ramana: In ensuring that transition occurs in fair and just manner, the role a person holding a position in judiciary or governance becomes extremely crucial

CJI NV Ramana: It is the decisions at crucial junctures which influence the growth and progress of humanity. Since the theme is life of a judge, I would confine myself to role of a judge in a contemporary society.

CJI NV Ramana: Legal jurisprudence is growing leaps and bounds....role of a judge has undergone sea change in all aspects. Till few decades ago expectations from a judge was limited to resolution of disputes between parties before a court

CJI NV Ramana: Now every conceivable problem in the society is expected to be addressed by the judiciary. People want judiciary to guide them in every turn of their life.

CJI NV Ramana: The journey to be come a judge is one of aspirations. Practicing before the constitutional courts is a dream for many and is accessible to a select few. For a system based on equity, the practice of law is yet to enter the phase of equal participation
CJI NV Ramana: Access to opportunities right from legal education to legal profession is largely dependent ones socio economic conditions. Struggles are multiplied when the person is a first generation lawyer

CJI NV Ramana: Without nurturing hand or support system legal practitioners belonging to small places or disadvantaged group cannot easily find a platform.
CJI NV Ramana: In the past seven decades the process of appointment of judges to constitutional courts has undergone a lot of change. One positive outcome is increased inclusivity

CJI NV Ramana: ....with persons from deprived background finding place on the bench. I find it may not be inappropriate to refer to my own background in this regard.

CJI NV Ramana: I was born in a village from agricultural family and english was introduced in 7th class. After Bsc, My father encouraged me to study law. Then I practiced at magistrate court in Vijaywada.

CJI NV Ramana: once again encouraged by my father I moved to Hyderabad to practice in Andhra Pradesh HC. By that I had received offer of judgeship. I was practicing in Taluka court to Supreme Court then

CJI NV Ramana: I was also appointed AAG of AP. i was keen on joining active politics. But destiny had planned otherwise. the decision to give up something for which I had worked so hard was not easy at all.

CJI NV Ramana: the journey from bar to bench is often not natural. Over the years I had built career and life around the people, i knew while moving from bar to bench one has to give up the social connections.

CJI NV Ramana: for years together the life of judge is spent in isolation and social alienation. In a country like us judges are not mere arbiters of justice but also administrators of justice.

CJI NV Ramana: For administering justice, judges must be aware of social realties and should not be a social recluse.

CJI NV Ramana: We must understand that impartiality and independence is a state of mind. However, the undeniable fact is that our engagement with society undergoes drastic change once we take up judgeship.

CJI NV Ramana: There is a view that a judge should have continued connections with society but sections of society have perceptions about judges moving around social circles. the choice is difficult but I personally believe one must remain connected with society
CJI: A judge must be aware if social realities and problems of people, Most of judges of constitutional courts begin their journey after their successful legal career.
CJI NV Ramana: Obvious sacrifice is monetary and one must be moved by a spirit of public service and we are trained as lawyers to pay heed to one sided arguments of clients on the other hand a mind of judge appreciates competing claims

CJI NV Ramana: As it was said long time ago to listen courteously, to answer wisely, to consult soberly and to decide impartially

CJI NV Ramana: Responsibility of judge is extremely burdensome owing to human implications of our rulings. Everyone enters courtroom to get justice. the burden of sentencing the accused, deciding custody of child or deciding right of tenant take a toll on mental wellbeing
CJI NV Ramana: We spend sleepless nights rethinking our decision

CJI NV Ramana: After all, like all other humans, even judges are fallible. Judges in the apex court are entrusted with the task of delivering the final verdict. As it seals the fate of parties, the stress is much more at the highest level.
CJI: It is an onerous responsibility, which we take extremely seriously. There exists a misconception in the minds of the people that Judges stay in
ultimate comfort, work only from 10 am to 4 pm and enjoy their holidays. Such a narrative is untrue.
CJI: It is not easy to prepare for more than 100 cases every week, listen to novel arguments, do independent research, and author judgments, while also
dealing with the various administrative duties of a Judge, particularly of a senior judge.
CJI: A person who has no connection with the profession cannot even imagine the number of hours that go into preparation. We spend many hours reading the paper-books and making notes for matters listed the next day.
CJI: Preparation for the next day begins soon after the court rises, and will go on beyond mid-night on most days. We continue to work even during weekends and Court holidays to do research and author pending
judgments. In this process, we miss out on many joys of our lives.
CJI: Sometimes, we miss out on important family events. At times, I wonder if my grandchildren would recognise me at all after failing to see them for days together.
CJI: when false narratives are created about the supposed easy life led by Judges, it is difficult to swallow. People often complain about the long pendency of cases at all levels of the Indian judicial system.
CJI: On multiple occasions, I have highlighted the
issues leading to pendency and backlog. I have been strongly advocating the need to revamp the infrastructure, both physical and personnel, to
enable the judges to function to their full potential.
CJI: On this occasion, I shall not fail to place on record my worries about the future of judiciary in this country. Every case is equally important for a judge. The burden on an already fragile judicial infrastructure is increasing by the day.
CJI: There have been a few knee jerk reactions in augmenting infrastructure in a few places. However, I haven’t heard of any concrete plan to equip the judiciary to meet the challenges of the foreseeable future, leave alone, a long term vision for the century and ahead.
CJI: Judges and judiciary have no power or authority to introduce a uniform system. The executive also has its own limitations, as it may not be able to appreciate the needs of the judiciary.
CJI: It is only with the coordinated efforts
by the judiciary and the executive that this alarming issue of infrastructure
can be addressed. In my opinion, the need of the hour is to initiate a multi-disciplinary study, where scientific methods can be used to equip our judiciary
CJI: for the future. With the growth of the economy and population, a sustainable method of dispensation of justice needs to be modelled. The reality, given the current situation, is that we are simply not equipped to handle the rising challenges of the future.
CJI: If the judiciary suffers, our democracy suffers. This is a serious issue.
CJI: Doing justice is not an easy responsibility. It is becoming increasingly challenging with each passing day. At times, there are also concerted campaigns in media, particularly on social media against judges.
CJI: Another aspect which affects the fair functioning and independence of judiciary is
the rising number of media trials.
CJI: New media tools have enormous amplifying ability but appear to be incapable of distinguishing between the right and the wrong, the good and the bad and the real and the fake.
[BREAKING] CJI: Media trials cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases. Of late, we see the media running kangaroo courts, at times on issues even
experienced judges find difficult to decide.
[BREAKING] CJI: Ill-informed and agenda driven debates on issues involving justice delivery are proving to be detrimental to the health of democracy. Biased views being propagated by media are affecting the people, weakening democracy, and harming the system.
CJI: In this process, justice delivery gets adversely affected. By overstepping and breaching your responsibility, you are taking our democracy two steps
backwards. Print media still has certain degree of accountability.
CJI: Whereas, electronic media has zero accountability as what it shows vanishes into thin year. Still worse is social media.
CJI: Owing to the frequent transgressions and consequent social unrests, there is a growing demand for stricter media regulations and accountability. In fact, looking at recent trends, it is best for the media to self-regulate and measure their words.
CJI: You should not overstep and invite interference,
either from the government or from the courts. Judges may not react immediately. Please don’t mistake it to be a weakness or helplessness.
CJI: When liberties are exercised responsibly, within their domains, there will be no necessity of placing reasonable or proportionate external restrictions.
I urge upon the media, particularly the electronic and social media, to behave responsibly.
CJI: You are as important a stakeholder as we are. Please use the power of your voice to educate the people and to energize the nation in our collective endeavor to build a progressive, prosperous, and peaceful India.
CJI: If we want a vibrant democracy, we need to strengthen our judiciary and empower our judges. These days, we are witnessing increasing number of
physical attacks on the judges.
CJI: Can you imagine, a judge who has served on the bench for decades, putting hardened criminals behind the bar, once he retires, loses all the protection that came with the tenure?
CJI: Judges have to live in the same society as the people that they have convicted, without any security or assurance of safety.
CJI: Politicians, bureaucrats, police officers and other public representatives are often provided with security even after their retirement owing to the sensitiveness of their jobs. Ironically, judges are not extended similar
CJI: The judges of the constitutional courts enjoy wider discretion while rendering justice. Especially in a country as socially diverse as India, judges
must have a very practical approach while laying down the law.
CJI: They need to be humanistic and compassionate, as their opinions have differing
impacts on different classes of people. Another aspect behind the idea of discretion is to allow the judges to do complete justice, in each set of facts
and circumstances.
CJI: To do complete justice, a good judge needs to be aware about the practical outcome of his decisions. Particularly, in a common law system where the law progresses with precedents, judges are important stakeholders in shaping the democracies.
CJI: If the judge’s role is confined to adjudicating disputes, if the judge is barred from interpreting the constitution and laws, it would be difficult to imagine the fate of our democracy.
CJI: One gets to hear that judges, being unelected, should not get into legislative and executive arenas. But this ignores the Constitutional responsibilities
that is placed on the judiciary.
CJI: Judicial review of legislative and executive actions, is an integral part of the Constitutional scheme. I would go as far as to state that it is the heart and soul of the Indian Constitution.
CJI: In my humble view, in the absence of judicial review, people’s faith in our Constitution would have diminished. The Constitution is ultimately for the people. The judiciary is the organ which breathes life into the Constitution.
CJI: I am very happy that the institution that I hail from has filled certain gaps in the Constitution in the interest of public at large. It is interpretation by
the judiciary, that have sustained and reinforced the faith of the people in the republic and the democracy.
CJI: No doubt, the Judiciary holds a special
position in our constitutional scheme. The judiciary has, by and large, lived up to the responsibility entrusted to it by the framers of the Constitution.
CJI: For our people, it continues to be the most trusted organ of the State. Our experience of past 75 years has proved beyond doubt that the parliamentary democracy is the best suited for a country as diverse and as complex as India.
CJI: Only a flourishing and vibrant democracy can lead our country on the path of peace, progress and global leadership. And a strong judiciary is the ultimate guarantee for the rule of law and democracy.
CJI: Hence, our collective endeavour should be to strengthen the judiciary which in turn will further strengthen our democracy. On a personal note, yes, the opportunity to serve as a Judge came with
tremendous challenges but I have never regretted a single day.
CJI: Judgeship is not a service but a calling.

#JusticeSBSinhaMemorialLecture Ends

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