Late Sh.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the President of India visited the Supreme Court of India. He spent an hour interacting with the judges. While parting, he gave his message: You are 26 (now 34) Role Models of Judiciary for this nation. The people look up to you for removal of injustice. You must come up to their expectations. You must have a vision to do your best. Thus, every judge is a role model of the court to which he belongs.
The time of a judge is public time. The judge is its trustee. You must sit in the court on time. Also leave the court at the appointed time. The people present in the court should be able to set their watches. Punctuality, in fact, is part of the personality of a judge. The old timers tell us that the judges used to sit dot on time. Not even a minute late. Times have changed. The discipline of punctuality is no more the same. Most judges adhere to this discipline of punctuality. Some abrasions qua punctuality are there. The same must be avoided under all circumstances. The former Chief Justice of India, late M.Hidayatullah once said: One who does not believe in punctuality of time does not have faith in the Rule of Law. Punctuality reflects self discipline. More so, in the case of judges at all levels. Justice B.N.Srikrishna, a former Judge of Supreme Court of India shares that when he became a judge of the Bombay High Court, the then Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, Justice P.D.Desai told him that the least a judge can do is to sit dot at the scheduled time in court. This is what he precisely did throughout his judicial journey. Former CJI, Justice Y.K.Sabharwal stressed upon the importance of punctuality: the need for punctuality and regularity is not only to have full control over the work but also to have a moral authority to check indiscipline amongst those who are expected to play a role in the functioning of the court, including the court staff, members of the bar, the litigants and the witnesses. Still another former Chief Justice of India, Justice R.C.Lahoti has cautioned the judges that if you cross the limit of 10 dot, it does not matter whether you sit late by 5 minutes or by 10 minutes. You are late in any case. Judges must always make an effort to be on time. My own experience at the Bar tells me that those who follow the discipline of time are always liked and appreciated by the Bar. It is understandable that occasionally the circumstances may conspire that it may render it impossible to be on time. In such a situation, the judge must inform so that the lawyers and the litigants may not wait. This too is part of judicial discipline. I am fully conscious of the fact that judges across the board are hard pressed for time. They not only work during the court hours. They continue to work even at home. They are humans. There are human limitations. Therefore, the time management is most important for judges. Time management is integral part of judicial discipline.
A judge has no personal life. He is a judge 24X7. He is in court from 10AM to 5PM. He continues to be a judge from 5PM to 10AM. The crown of a judge is not taken off even when he is sleeping. He is known as a judge. Whether in court or at home or outside. A judge always follows the disciplined life. He is watched every moment. In court or outside. His behavior and even the body language in court speak of the judge. A judge is bound by the code of conduct throughout. The court of the judge is his laboratory. It is learning and lifelong experience. A judge must have a hobby. May I suggest the reading of Autobiographies, Biographies and Reminiscences! Let me list some of them: 1. My Own Boswell : Memories of M.Hidayatullah, 2. My Life : Law and Other Things Motilal C. Setalvad, 3. Roses in December : M.C.Chagla, 4. The Family Story : Lord Denning, 5. To the Best of My Memory : P.B.Gajendragadkar, 6. Before Memory Fades : Fali S. Nariman, 7. Nani Palkhivala – The Courtroom Genius : Soli Sorabjee; Arvind P. Datar, 8. Of Life and Me : J.L.Gupta, 9. M.K.Gandhi’s : The Law and the Lawyers : Maj. Gen. (Prof.) Nilendra Kumar; Neha Chaturvedi, 10. Legends in Law : V. Sudhesh Pai (Portraying 42 Life Journeys of Lawyers and Judges), 11. Legal Eagles : Indu Bhan (Top 7 Indian Lawyers), 12. Courting Politics : Shweta Bansal (9 Top Political Lawyers), 13. My Journey with Law and Justice : Professor (Dr) Balram K Gupta. This list is not exhaustive. Some more can be added in future. These are a great learning. They share their experiences. They are a store house of life experiences of best of minds. Relaxing and Entertaining. They provide enjoyment. Above all, they provide an adult dose of Judicial Discipline.