New Delhi, Jan. Jan 31 :
The Supreme Court Friday said that a judge should only act within the legal parameters, established judicial process and decorum and shun passions and subjectivities as his only master is “duty to truth”.
“Thus, a judge should abandon his passion. He must constantly remind himself that he has a singular master ‘duty to truth’ and such truth is to be arrived at within the legal parameters. No heroism, no rhetoric,” said a bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Dipak Misra in their judgment.
“It needs no special emphasis to state that a judge is not to be guided by any kind of notion. The decision making process expects a judge or an adjudicator to apply restraint, ostracize perceptual subjectivity, make one’s emotions subservient to one’s reasoning and think dispassionately,” said Justice Misra speaking for the bench.
“Another facet gaining significance and deserves to be adverted to, when caustic observations are made which are not necessary as an integral part of adjudication and it affects the person’s reputation – a cherished right under article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) of the constitution,” the judgment said.
The court’s observations came while allowing an appeal by Haryana’s former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala who had moved the apex court against the “disparaging remarks” made against him by a single judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court as it upheld plea by Kanwar Bhan on the payment of his pension and other pensionary benefits.
The observations of single judge were upheld by the division bench of the high court.
Kanwar Bhan, an assistant registrar of cooperative societies in Haryana was placed under suspension on an oral complaint Feb 4, 2001, during a function “Sarkar Apke Dwar” at Jagadhari that was attended by Chautala.
Though he was reinstated subsequently but his pension and pensionary benefits were held back as the inquiry against him was not completed.
“A judgment may have rhetorics but the said rhetoric has to be dressed with reason and must be in accord with the legal principles,” the court said, cautioning that “otherwise mere rhetoric, especially in a judgment, may likely to cause prejudice to a person and courts are not expected to give any kind of prejudicial remarks against a person, especially so, when he is not a party before it”.
Taking a critical view of the high court judge’s observations, the apex court said: “We have no hesitation in holding that disparaging remarks, as recorded by the learned single judge, are not necessary for arriving at the decision” and the same stand expunged.
The court said that the “affirmation of the same by the division bench on the foundation that it has not caused any prejudice and he (Chautala) can fully defend himself when a subsequent litigation is instituted, are legally unacceptable.”