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No harsh remarks on lower courts: SC

The Supreme Court expunged the remarks made by the Allahabad High Court.

The Supreme Court expunged the remarks made by the Allahabad High Court.  

A judgment may be right or wrong, but higher court judges cannot indulge in passing scathing remarks about trial judges merely because they do not agree with their point of view, the Supreme Court has cautioned the High Courts.

In a recent judgment, an Supreme Court Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose chastised the courts for using strong language against the subordinate judiciary in their judgments.

“We follow a system where the judgment of a court is subject to judicial scrutiny by higher courts. The judgment may be right or wrong, but the higher courts should not pass scathing remarks against the presiding officer of the lower courts only because they do not agree with the point of view of the trial court.”

The verdict came on a plea filed by a judicial officer presiding over a Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.

The officer intervened in the spat between two lawyers in a case on which one of them should collect the fee when the case was compromised.

In appeal, the Allahabad High Court made disparaging comments in its judgment against the judicial officer.

The Supreme Court referred to judicial precedents which said the High Court may condemn a judicial officer if the latter’s actions were based on a corrupt motive. But such remarks cannot be made “light-heartedly” because the lower court judge has no way in law to vindicate his position.

“Our legal system acknowledges the fallibility of the judges and hence provides for appeals and revisions. A judge tries to discharge his duties to the best of his capacity. While doing so, sometimes, he is likely to err,” the judgment quoted from a decision of the apex court. It went on to expunge the remarks made by the High Court.

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