Madras HC judge submits two-year performance report

Justice G R Swaminathan

In an unusual but commendable move, Justice G R Swaminathan of the Madras High Court has presented a report card of his two years as judge to the Bar in which he has highlighted his achievements and admitted to his follies.
In the two-page letter sent to members of the Bar on June 27, Justice Swaminathan notes that he has disposed of 18,944 main cases individually and 2,534 cases as a part of different Division Benches ever since he took oath as a judge on June 28, 2017.
“I had reserved a number of matters and I find it difficult to prepare the orders without the benefit of rehearing. But then, I am not supposed to retain the bundles once the cycle is over. Therefore, with heavy heart I am releasing almost 75 cases from my board,” he wrote in the letter.
This is the first time a judge has issued a report card of his two-year performance as judicial officer. Conveying his apologies to the counsel and to the concerned litigants for not giving disposal to those cases, the judge said he shall dictate all the judgments in the open court.
“This I think will avoid the situation that I am now facing. I have introspected and I wonder if things could have been a little different and far better. My conscience says “yes”. I have been impatient, sometimes even rude. I hope to put on better behaviour henceforth. Many of my orders have been too cryptic,” Justice Swaminathan wrote.
Noting that he finds it very difficult to correct the draft orders and that there has been undue delay in despatching the order copies, the judge said he hopes to evolve a mechanism to overcome the shortcomings.
“When I enter the third year from tomorrow, I do hope to turn a new leaf. Friends, I have great expectations from you. You may be aware that at least 4 of my decisions rendered during these two years have attracted wide-spread attention and notice,” he said.
Asking lawyers to assist him more, the Judge told them to be ready by contacting their clients once the roster was announced. “You should not take more than one adjournment. I believe I can write a good judgment only if your advocacy is good. Bad advocacy will breed only bad judgment. I am critically dependent on you,” he said.

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