Justice R.F. Nariman with CJI Justice N.V. Ramana
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Thursday said that judges put in a lot of work, sometimes late into the night or at the crack of dawn, unlike the popular misconception that judges work only 10 to 4.
Addressing the Supreme Court Bar Association’s farewell to Justice R.F. Nariman, Justice Ramana said the misconceptions have also promoted the ideas that judges stay in big bungalows and enjoy their holidays.
“Such a narrative is untrue. It is not easy to prepare for more than 100 cases every week, listen to novel arguments, do independent research, and author judgments, while also dealing with the various administrative duties of a Judge, particularly of a senior judge. We either burn the midnight oil, or wake up before sunrise, or sometimes even both, to fulfil our judicial duties,” CJI Ramana said.
The CJI said judges even work during holidays, to research and author pending judgments. “Therefore, when false narratives are created about the supposed easy life led by judges, it is difficult to swallow.”
CJI Ramana said it is the duty of the Bar to refute these false narratives, educate the public and the work of judges given the limited resources they are given. “We cannot defend ourselves,” the CJI said.
However, the Chief Justice said he hoped his plain talk doesn’t deter anyone from taking up a judgeship. The reward is in the feeling that we judges get every day in Court- in upholding the law and the noble values enshrined in the charter that ‘We, The People of India,’ gave ourselves 71 years ago,” he said.
Speaking on the other facets of becoming a judge and the sacrifices required, CJI Ramana said judges sacrifice a lot when they decide to become judges from advocates. “The most obvious sacrifice is monetary, particularly when you are Brother Nariman with a roaring practice. One must be moved by a spirit of public duty to take such a decision.”
Judges also have to accept a reduced role in society when they take the posting, he said and drew attention to the fact that he himself is very clear that judges should not completely seclude themselves.
“I think it is important to stay in touch with the society and the profession even as a judge. However, the undeniable fact is that our engagement with society undergoes a drastic change, once we take up judgeship,” CJI Ramana said.