If reading statutes is all, robots would be judges: Chief Justice Mohit Shah
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Addressing a gathering of around 250 judges from magistrate and district courts from the state, at Uttan in Thane, Chief Justice Shah said, "If it was only about reading provisions of a statute, judging would have been left to robots and machines."
The Bombay HC had transferred Ramchandra Bagade, Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division and Judicial Magistrate First Class, Palghar to Pachora in Jalgaon district last week on "administrative grounds". The transfer came a week after the girls from Palghar, arrested on November 18 for posting an FB comment criticising the shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray, were produced in Bagade's court. Incidentally, Bagade had also granted bail to 10 Shiv Sainiks accused of vandalising the clinic of the uncle of one of the girls.
Speaking at the launch of a project, 'Disseminating Knowledge Among Judicial Officers', at the Maharashtra Judicial Academy (MJA) and the Indian Mediation Centre and Training Institute at Uttan, Chief Justice Shah said the same sections of the law would apply to a father who breaks a chair at a hospital after his only child dies, and to "twenty hooligans who damage an operation theatre."
"The facts are different but the section (of the law) is the same," CJ Shah said. He said a judge may grant bail in the first case, but has to think before he grants bail in the second. "Only to get consistency, you don't stop applying your mind," he said.
To drive home his point, he cited Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code that spares an accused of the charges of homicide and books him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder if his act is preceded by "sudden and grave" provocation.
"There was a man whose mother taunted him for not earning money when he asked for food. He got angry and hit his mother with a stick and she died. You would apply the fourth exception in this case because there is sudden and grave provocation," he said. Citing another example of a man who saw his fiancee with another man, got angry and killed the other man and hacked his body into 300 pieces, he said, "Would you use the fourth exception in such a case?"
CJ Shah further said that 50 per cent of complaints against judges are about their behaviour. "People complain that a judge insults lawyers or litigants." Giving tips to subordinate court judges on soft skills, he said, "Spoken words form only eight per cent of your speech", tone and body language form the major part of communication.
To aid parties in person (litigants who argue cases themselves without a lawyer), CJ Shah said, "We are thinking of a stress management centre in the High Court where Dr Harish Shetty (leading psychiatrist) and his team will counsel them.
He said in lighter vein, "Those parties who create trouble for us will first have to meet them."
As part of the 'Disseminating Knowledge Among Judicial Officers' project, law books, CDs and DVDs were provided to 1,850 judicial officers across the state by the academy.
Justice D Y Chandrachud, MJA director Justice V M Kanade, Justice K U Chandiwal, Justice S P Davare and Justice A M Thipsay were present among others at the event.
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