Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
In India on 7th May 1997 a 16 point code of conduct, for ensuring proper conduct among members of the higher judiciary was adopted by the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts with the Gujarat High Court as the sole dissenter, reportedly. The 16 point code which the Judges prefer to describe as “The Restatement of Values of Judicial Life” is believed to have become effective since then. It was drafted by a Committee of five Judges, headed by Justice Dr.A.S.Anand, as he then was. The other members were Justice S.P.Barucha, Justice K.S.Paripoornan, Justice M.Srinivasan and Justice D.P.Mohapatra. The 16 point code stipulates:
(1) Justice must not merely be done but it must also be seen as done. The behaviour and conduct of members of the higher judiciary must reaffirm the people’s faith in the impartiality of the judiciary. Accordingly, any act of a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, weather in official or personal capacity, which erodes the credibility of the perception has to be avoided.
(2) A Judge should not contest the election of any office of a Club, society or other association; further he shall not hold such elective office except in a society or association connected with the law.
(3) Close association with individual members of the Bar, particularly those who practice in the same court shall be eschewed.
(4) A Judge shall not permit any member of his immediate family to, such as spouse, son, or daughter, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law, or any other close relative, if as member of the Bar, to appear before him or even be associated in any manner with a case to be dealt with by him.
(5) No member of his family, who is a member of the Bar, shall be permitted to use the residence in which the judge actually resides or other facilities for professional work.
(6) A Judge should practise a degree of aloofness consistent with the dignity of his office.
(7) A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a member of his family, a close relation or a friend is concerned.
(8) A Judge shall not enter into a public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination.
(9) A Judge is expected to let his judgement speak for themselves. He shall not give interview to the media.
(10) A Judge shall not accept gifts or hospitality except from his family, close relations and friends.
(11) A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a company in which he holds shares is concerned unless he has disclosed his interest and no objection to his hearing and deciding the matter is raised.
(12) A Judge shall not speculate in shares, stocks or the like.
(13) A Judge should not engage directly or indirectly in trade or business, either by himself or in association with any other person. (publication of a legal treaties or any activity in the mature of a hobby shall not be constructed as trade business).
(14) A Judge should not ask for accept contribute or otherwise actively associate himself with the raising of any fund for any purpose.
(15) A Judge should not seek any financial benefit in the form of a perquisite or privilege attached to his office unless it is clearly available. Any doubt in this behalf must be got resolved and clarified through the Chief Justice.
(16) Every Judge must at all times be conscious that he is under the public gaze and there should be no act or omission by him which is unbecoming of the high office he occupies and the public esteem in which the office is held.
These are only the “Restatement of the Values of Judicial Life” and are not meant to be exhaustive but illustrative of what is expected of a Judge.
Need of a new law suggested: The only remedy is to provide a legal conscience and for that there is necessity to enact a new law on the lines of Prevention and Corruption Act, 1988 under the purview of which the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts shall be brought, because neither the impeachment procedure of the Judges as provided in the Constitution nor the internal judicial machinery to prevent the corruption of Judges of the Higher Judiciary in India is workable.
Judge Robert Satter.
The expression "Justice" is similarly used to a judge who has demitted his office as if it is a title. Though we abolished titles the habit continues. The whole scene appears quite pompous The institution should be exposed to public criticism by confining contempt power a very narrow field of administration of justice and that will discipline the institution. Everything about the Court requires a radical transformation and the first step should be to discard the colonial and feudal vestiges which alone would give a democratic visage it so badly needs. Not the least is the liberation of a profession from self imposed servitude as a part of a lawyer's professional competence.