Judges are like architectural designers while deciding a case: Chief Justice

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir Judicial Academy organized a one day interactive programme on “order/judgment writing, application of the law, sharing best practices and finding solutions to practical problems faced by them in justice delivery” for Civil Judges (Junior Division) of Kashmir Province.

The programme that was inaugurated by Chief Justice, High Court of J&K and Ladakh and Patron-in-Chief, J&K Judicial Academy, Justice N Kotiswar Singh, aims to provide a platform for Civil Judges to exchange ideas and share experiences as well as learn techniques from the experts in the field of law.

Yash Paul Bourney, Registrar Vigilance, High Court of J&K and Ladakh, M K Sharma, Director, J&K Judicial Academy and Jatinder Singh Jamwal, Special Judge, Anti-Corruption (CBI Cases), Srinagar were the resource persons for the programme.

Delivering the inaugural address, Chief Justice stated that it is the primary duty of a Judge to write judgement understandable by a litigant and not for the higher courts. All focus must be on the litigant who has come for justice, he said adding that judgement should be clear, lucid and with good reasoning. He said application of mind is important to make any decision because we are dealing with human sufferings. For a good judgement the facts of the case should be properly marshalled and the law should be applied with clear reasons for accepting or rejecting any claim of the litigant, he asserted.

Chief Justice emphasised that the judges are like architectural designers while deciding a case. Though in the criminal cases, charge-sheet is the basis for decision but the facts of the case must be taken care of while deciding the case, he added.

Justice Sindhu Sharma, Chairperson, J&K Judicial Academy, in her special address, while quoting a Greek Philosopher said that the qualities of a judge are to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly and to decide impartially. She emphasised that while deciding a case and writing a judgment a judge must consider the arguments and claims put forth by the parties. Further quoting Justice H.K. Sema, former judge of Supreme Court of India, she said that Judgement is best when given with reasons. While quoting Justice R.C. Lahoti, former Chief Justice of India, she said that while writing a judgement don’t go into the verbosity of the document.

She also deliberated that a litigant must understand that why a case is in his favour or against, that should come out from the judgement. The basic factors that should be considered, is to maintain integrity while passing a decision and it should not be influenced by any other matter even our own prejudices and biases. We have to consider the facts while writing a judgement that it should be based on the provision of law, the aspect on which we are doing and how we are going to write the judgement.

Justice Javed Iqbal Wani, Member, J&K Judicial Academy, in his special address, citing the case of Barender Kumar Gosh said that the trial Judge quoted from the sonnet ‘On His Blindness’ of a famous English poet John Milton i.e., “They also serve who only stand and wait” while turning the plea of innocence of Barender Kumar Gosh in a robbery and murder case quoting that even if you were guard at the door still you were guilty of the crime for taking no action.

Justice Wani, citing another recent judgement of the Supreme Court of India, said while quoting Justice Roslyn Atkinson, former judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, who had said that there are purposes for any judgement that is written, i.e., to spell out judges own thoughts; to explain your decision to the parties; to communicate the reasons for the decision to the public and to provide reasons for an appeal to consider. Every judgement has to have various basic elements such as statement of material (relevant) facts, legal issues or questions, deliberation to reach at decision and the ratio or conclusive decision, he added.

Director, J&K Judicial Academy, M.K. Sharma, in his welcome address, underscored the importance of organising this program. He said that writing judgments and orders is virtually an art and often varies from judge to judge as no form or format has been provided in law as to how judgments and orders should be written by the judges.

The day long interactive programme was divided into two technical sessions and an interactive session for feedback.

The first technical session was chaired by Yash Paul Bourney, Registrar Vigilance and M.K. Sharma, Director, J&K Judicial Academy who analysed the art of order/judgment writing and application of the law.

The second technical session was chaired by Jatinder Singh Jamwal, Special Judge, Anti-Corruption (CBI Cases) who explained by Sharing best practices and finding solutions to practical problems faced by Civil Judges (Junior Division) in justice delivery.

The interactive programme concluded with an interactive session during which the participants deliberated and discussed various aspects of the subject topic and raised queries which were satisfactorily settled by the resource persons.