Judges cross ‘Lakshman Rekha’ sometimes: Justice Kurian

Justice Kurian Joseph has said that sometimes judges “go beyond the lakshman rekha and take up the role of an administrator”.

“Judges shall not cross the ‘lakshman rekha’ of their role, otherwise it would be disrespect to the Constitution and the system”, he said.

Justice Joseph was addressing the valedictory function at the National seminar on ‘Current issues before the legal profession and the judiciary’ in Kozhikode on Saturday.

He said media trial on pending cases was contempt of court and the media should play a constructive role in the betterment of the legal system.

“Judges should have a clear idea about their role. They are meant for delivering judgments. They shall not take up the role of political executives or the media. They should only comment on their cases and never think of breaking news,” he said.

Justice Joseph on July 28 had passed a dissenting order after failing to agree with his fellow judge on a “common order” while hearing Memon’s plea seeking a stay on his execution.

The matter was therefore referred to a larger bench that rejected to stay Yakub’s hanging.

Justice Joseph said: “If we find that justice is not administered, we have the power of judicial review. That power of judicial review is not be substituted for a political executive’s executive action. It is where we faulted. We should have deep introspection on this area of approach we have to make as a judge.’’

“The judge must have to see the man crying for justice and that is what people expect of a judge,’’ he said, adding that the judge should not be swayed by the way the lawyer presents his case.

He also took a strong exception to judges’ failure to deliver judgments on time. “The promptness in delivering the judgment is a serious issue. I suggest that a judge who hears a case must deliver the judgment within a month. If too many judges are involved, a maximum of three months could be given. After one month, the chief justice concerned should give the first alarm to the judge, saying that the judgment pending is not good and proper. After three months, he (the Chief Justice) must withdraw the work from that judge till he writes the judgment.’’

The judges who are not writing the judgments even after three months should be published in the public domain by the CJ. “You must not be a law unto yourself. The judge is governed by law only, not by a philosophy or commitment to any value,’’ he said.