Chief Justice of India-designate S.H. Kapadia on Sunday cautioned the judiciary against exceeding its briefs through judicial activism.

Quoting from the recent book of a British judge, he said: “Judicial activism beyond a point is against the rule of law…” and “that is why I always tell my brother judges, ‘please see to it we also should continue to learn'.”

Justice Kapadia, who will take over as the Chief Justice of India on May 12, was taking part in the national consultation here on the second-generation reforms in legal education.

He said: “When we talk of ethics, the judges normally comment upon ethics among politicians, students and professors and others. But I would say that for a judge too, ethics, not only constitutional morality but even ethical morality, should be the base…”

“If the judge is clear on concepts...he will be able to decipher the difference between judicial activism and judicial restraint,” he said.

He criticised senior lawyers of the Supreme Court for not sparing time to teach students. In other countries, senior lawyers contributed to journals and taught students. “Unfortunately, I don't see that kind of dedication from senior lawyers of the Supreme Court.” If the goal of legal education reforms was to be achieved, efforts had to be made by all sides, he said.

Justice Kapadia also wanted lawyers and judges to brush up their knowledge of business laws. “I am reliably told that an impression is being formed that judges and lawyers in India do not even conceptually have any knowledge of business and commercial laws,” he said.

Union Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily said he expected dramatic changes in the justice delivery system after Justice Kapadia took over.

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