NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has come out strongly against over-speaking trial court judges and said their loose talk and sweeping generalisation while evaluating evidence of a witness could harm judicial dignity.
Judges may be like any other human being but they need to exercise judicial restraint and discipline for orderly administration of justice, sermonised the apex court.
These observations came from a bench of justices C K Thakker and Altamas Kabir, which took exception to a Gurdaspur additional sessions judge accusing a witness of making false statement even though his statement was accepted in part by the trial judge as well as the high court in convicting the accused in a dowry death case.
While conceding that judges had normal human traits with likes and dislikes, preferences and prejudices, it stressed on judicial restraint and discipline, saying these were necessary for orderly administration of justice.
It quoted a 1964 judgment and wanted the judges to remember the words of then apex court judge, Justice S K Das, who had said, ‘‘In expressing their opinion, judges and magistrates must be guided by the consideration of justice, fairplay and restraint. It is not infrequent that sweeping generalisations defeat the very purpose for which they are made.’’ Justice Das had further said, ‘‘It has been further recognised that judicial pronouncements must be judicial in nature, and should not normally depart from sobriety, moderation and reserve.’’
The bench quoted a 1986 judgment of the apex court in which the then Chief Justice P N Bhagwati had said, ‘‘Judges should not use strong and carping language while criticising the conduct of parties or their witnesses. They must act with sobriety, moderation and restraint. They must have the humility to recognise that they are not infallible.’’
Taking cue from these judgments, the Bench ordered expunction of the Gurdaspur judge’s scathing remarks against the witness in the dowry death case.