New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI/SRV Media): A panel discussion on the topic of Judicial Ethics was organized by the Institute of Law, Nirma University as part of its International Teaching Month-2021. The institute hosted judges from India, the United States, Brazil and Nepal.
The august speakers for the session included: Justice Abhilasha Kumari, Judicial Member of LokpalFormer Chief Justice, Manipur High Court, Hon'ble Judge Andrea Galhardo Palma, Civil Law Judge, Sao Paulo State Court, Brazil, Hon'ble Judge Keith Barnes, Associate Presiding Judge, Fifth Judicial District, Utah, USA, and Hon'ble Justice Anil Kumar Sinha, Judge, Supreme Court of Nepal.
Justice Abhilasha Kumari highlighted that in every society, primitive or evolved, democratic or subscribing to any other form of government, the need has always been felt for an independent and impartial judicial system. She further stated that there cannot be an airtight definition of Judicial Ethics.
However, Justice Abhilasha implored that to maintain the independence and integrity of the judiciary, it is important that judges remain above reproach. She stated that judges undertake the Constitutional Oath at the beginning of their tenure.
Adherence to rule of law, independence and impartiality in duty are ingrained in the Constitutional Oath. Judicial Ethics have much wider implications than just prescribing a code of conduct for professional purposes; it casts a solemn obligation on the judge to accordingly shape their persona in a holistic manner.
Justice Abhilasha stated that Judicial Ethics can be considered to be a self-imposed code of conduct. She also emphasized that the judge must thoroughly know the laws of the land and apply them judiciously. Adding on, judicial integrity is at the heart of Judicial Ethics. She stressed that respect cannot be commanded, it has to be earned.
She also referred to Restatement of Values of Judicial Life which reiterates universally norms, guidelines and conventions observed by Judges Uplifting the perception of the judiciary in the eyes of the common man should be one of the goals of the judicial officers.
J. Keith Barnes emphasised that'Ethics simply starts with you'. It is important for one to be honest and ethical with themselves- that is the beginning of ethics. Judge Barnes shared his experience of cases that he dealt with as a Judicial Officer. He highlighted that the individuals involved in law enforcement should ensure that while dealing with the individuals, they must maintain their integrity.
Moving on, he stated that honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth, even when things seem dark and grim. He then discussed the different cannons that judicial officers follow in the US. It is simply - integrity and independence. The esteemed judge further elaborated on the challenges that were faced in the US judiciary in light of the current pandemic.
He discussed the challenges that come with being a judge, such as the idea that at some point the judge might have to sign a death warrant for some person. Special emphasis was placed on the need for judges to be compassionate and be respectful towards the parties involved.
Justice Anil Kumar Sinha shared his experience of judicial ethics in Nepal. The vastly experienced judge highlighted that confidence in oneself and the confidence to uphold the Constitution of the country constitute two significant qualities in any judge. The code of conduct comes from within the judges, as they embark on their journey and realize their responsibilities of imparting justice.
Judges should not be influenced by their past and must strive to live in the present. They should not be affected by their political and religious affiliations. This constitutes a significant part of judicial ethics too. He highlighted the challenges that the Nepal judiciary has faced over decades such as lack of funds, lack of efficient staff, backlogs, lack of facilities and how the officers are constantly striving to work for its development.
Judge AndreaGalhardo Palma stated that being a judge is not only a job but a mission to ensure justice delivery across the country. She stated that judges can fail sometimes, however it is important that they continue to maintain the highest standards of judicial conduct. She emphasized that being prudent, diligent, transparent, and respecting client confidentiality are some important qualities that judges must always abide by.
Earlier, Prof (Dr) PurviPokhariyal, DeanDirector, ILNU in her inaugural address stated that deliberation on ethical conduct in all aspects of professional dealings is very crucial and complex and thus it is imperative to discuss them. The session was ably moderated by Prof Neeraj Sharma, Asst. Professor (Law) Aadesh Shinde, a 4th-year student at the institute delivered the vote of thanks.
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