New Delhi: Judges are often caught in the dilemma of morality versus legality in quest to deliver justice and
it needs moral courage to render an opinion which might displease many, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said on Wednesday while stressing that it is imperative for judges not to be swayed by these external pressures. The CJI also said impartiality is not an easy quality to possess or apply to the cases and a judge must make a conscious effort to cast aside biases and prejudices.
An aspect I wish to highlight is the process of decision making goes beyond the knowledge and application of principle of law. It needs moral courage to render an opinion which might displease many. It is imperative for judges not to be swayed by these external pressures,” said Justice Ramana at the farewell function of Justice Navin Sinha organised by Supreme Court Bar Association.
Brother Sinha is a man of impeccable integrity, strong morals, and the conviction to always stand by his principles. He is fiercely independent and impartial, he said.
The CJI said “judges often carry our individual baggage — our biases and prejudices which can unconsciously affect the decision-making process.”
He said social conditions, upbringing and life experiences often colour opinions and notions of judges.
But, when we adorn the robe of a judge, we must make a conscious effort to cast aside our biases and prejudices. After all, equality, objectivity and even-handedness form crucial aspects of fairness. At the same time, we must not forget the social dimensions that is at the heart of every case before us, he said.
The CJI said that Justice Sinha balanced these issues admirably, and with apparent ease and has truly personified the virtues necessary for a Judge of the Apex Court.
He said “judges are often caught in the dilemma of morality versus legality, in our quest to deliver justice.”
“There are multiple sleepless nights, that judges go through to resolve such issues and it is often a tight-rope walk, more so, for a Supreme Court judge,” he said.
Justice Ramana said this was the reason the framers of the Constitution gave Supreme Court the power under Article 142, to render complete justice.
“This is our sacred duty and a burden that we bear gladly,” the CJI said.
Speaking about Justice Sinha, the CJI said that he carried this burden upon his broad shoulders with ease.
“In this quest, he always brought forward the humane side of the law. Today I am feeling sad that I am losing such a valued colleague and friend”, he said. Justice Sinha said he has been strong advocate of training of judges.
He said humility lies in recognising ones own shortcoming and younger generation of lawyers need to be trained. Justice Sinha said judges must be taught manner and demeanour of a lawyer.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said Justice Sinha has remained a torch bearer of judicial commitment and always had a empathetic approach to cases.
SCBA president Vikas Singh said it is a wrong conception that judges work 10 am to 4 pm and take long holidays.
He said lawyers are aware how hard the judges work.
Born on August 19, 1956, Justice Sinha was enrolled as an advocate in 1979 after completing his law degree from the University of Delhi.
He practised before the Patna High Court for 23 years and was appointed as a permanent judge there on February 11, 2004.
He was the Chief Justice of high courts of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan before being elevated as a judge of the apex court.
In the apex court, he was part of several important judgements including the landmark verdict in January 2019 upholding the constitutional validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in its entirety.