“Judiciary, Judges and the Administration of Justice”, a book authored by Justice R. Banumathi was launched on Saturday at an event conducted by Thomsom Reuters. Justice Banumathi, who served the judiciary for more than three decades, retired as a judge of the Supreme Court in July this year after serving for about 6 years.
The book provides insights on the independence of the judiciary, judicial accountability, honesty, integrity, judicial ethics, impartiality, conscious objectivity and the probity of conduct expected from judges. The book also focuses on the need for the judges to be dedicated to the cause of justice and adherence to constitutional values, transparency and accountability.
The event witnessed the presence of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice N.V Ramana, Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court D N Patel, Justice D Y Chandrachud, and Justice Indu Malhotra.
The Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, D N Patel, congratulated Justice Banumathi for her hard work on the book. He said the concept of E courts covered in the book provides the blueprint on the digitisation of judicial function.
He quoted Benjamin Franklin by saying “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Justice Banumathi has indeed done both.”
Justice Indu Malhotra focused on how Justice Banumathi used her experience in the Tamil Nadu Judicial Services while writing this book and as it covered E-Courts, the role of Judges, case management, and administration, it was a must-read for all.
Justice D Y Chandrachud narrated how Justice Banumathi would be engaged in work and conversation about cases even during lunch while other judges would discuss movies or something else to divert their minds off work.
“This book is not just a product of post-retirement life. This project started way before she demitted her office. For a Judge to do this while having to work through hundreds of SLPs, is remarkable,” he said.
Justice Chandrachud who also happens to be the president of the E-committee listed the statistics pertaining to the success of the National Judicial Data Grid and explained how it came in handy while disposing of old cases. He cited an excerpt from the book and how it talks about how a judge must remain a judge even after attaining the age of 62 or 65. He congratulated Justice Banumathi for her contribution.
Justice N V Ramana began by stating that the book provides an insight into the working of the judicial system right from the trial court level. The book explained many legal concepts and doctrines from the separation of powers to the importance of the judiciary, he said.
Justice Ramana expressed concerns over how judges have become soft targets of criticism. Judges have no way to voice their own opinions except through their judgments and judicial work, he said.
“There seems to be a misunderstanding that Judges lead a life of luxury in their ivory towers. That is not true. Judges have to balance their social lives in order to be independent. Judges are becoming targets of juicy gossip and social media proceedings. This is increasing due to the proliferation of social media,” he said.
Chief Justice S A Bobde observed that the book is unique as it provides insight into the workings of the judiciary. “Her experience is diverse and her book shows that she has learned something at every stage, right up to e-courts and computerisation. Her work helps the readers to learn the important things about the judiciary and to build upon it in their own lives. The book encapsulates how the Judges have to constantly rise above themselves in their work,” he said.
Referring to the book, ‘Judges’ by David Pannick, the CJI said judges are often called upon to do things which others tend to avoid. Referring to the criticism faced by the judiciary recently, the CJI said that Judges have to maintain their independence and consistently “rise above themselves in their work”. “Freedom of Speech of Judges is curtailed by the same laws and machinery that uphold the freedom for others who use it to criticise the Judiciary and Judges,” he said.