Supreme Court justices debate punctuality

Supreme Court justices debate punctuality

“Clock is the villain of my life,” according to Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, who during her tenure as a  Supreme Court judge struggled to reach court on time more often than not. The last day of her office was no different.

Justice Misra, who hails from Patna, was late by 15 minutes at the Supreme Court Bar Association function held on Friday evening to bid farewell to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and herself.

CJI-designate Justice R M Lodha, who will be administered the oath of office on Sunday, quipped: “No matter at what time a judge enters the courtroom, it is always 10.30. You (referring to Justice Misra) reached the podium at 4.15 pm, the programme started now with your arrival.” He was using the example of a US judge to bring in a lighter moment.

When Justice Misra’s turn came to share her four-year experience as SC judge, she explained how she never followed traditions throughout her life and decided to pursue a career in a space considered a male bastion. “I broke traditions. Clock is the villain of my life. I never obeyed the wall clock in the hope that I can make up if I deliver quality of work and do not compromise with the quality in any manner,” she said in her speech.

 “The judges and lawyers would bail me out on this count,” Justice Misra, daughter of former Patna HC chief justice Satish Chandra Misra, added. She was elevated as fourth woman judge of the apex court on April 30, 2010 by then CJI K G Balakrishnan.

Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, who hails from a farmer’s family in Tamil Nadu, in his address said his views are in contrast to that of his sister judge and he had no qualms in declaring openly that punctuality is a must and time management is a key for reduction of backlog.  

He said he was happy to note that his successors Justice Lodha and Justice H L Dattu are sticklers for time.

Justice Sathasivam, who was elevated as CJI on July 19 last, said, “Five principles I dearly adhered from day one were: Be punctual, be patient, be humane, be firm and polite and give all fair due process.”

“Time management by both the Bar and the Bench is the key if the backlog has to be reduced. Punctuality and maintaining 100 per cent attendance by judges, curtailing lengthy arguments of the counsel, ending the practice of seeking pass overs on the pretext of senior counsel being engaged in another court, etc., will go a long way in utilising judicial time more judiciously,” he said.

CJI Sathasivam said his achievements during his tenure were appointment of four Judges in the apex court, six chief justices and 89 judges in the High Courts. Besides, 67 additional judges were confirmed as permanent judges in different HCs. The pending matters in the SC were also reduced from 67,964 to 63,625 cases, he added.  

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