ANDHRA PRADESH

Judicial officers urged to practise restraint

HYDERABAD Oct. 5. The Chief Justice of the A.P. High Court, AR Lakshmanan, has called upon judicial officers to practise restraint and not to misuse their authority by "unbalanced comments, undignified chat or scathing criticism of counsel, parties or witnesses."

``The court does have the inherent power to act freely upon its own conviction on any matter coming before it for adjudication but derogatory remarks ought not be made unless it is absolutely necessary for the decision of the case,'' he said.

Mr. Justice Lakshmanan was addressing the second zonal workshop of judicial officers of the Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Mahabubnagar, Medak and Nizamabad districts organised by the A.P. Judicial Academy at the High Court here on Saturday.

Around 160 judicial officers were attending the two-day interactive meet which is to help them keep abreast of the latest developments in law so as to improve the quality and quantity of disposals.

The Chief Justice reminded the judicial officers that the law has to keep pace with the ever-changing society but `a balance has to be struck between changing social mores and never changing moral and human principles.' Pendency of cases before the courts was `alarming' and `delays' worrying, Mr. Justice Lakshmanan said, and called for effective steps to preserve the confidence reposed in the judiciary by the common man.

The establishment of Lok Adalats, fast track courts, legal literacy camps and inculcating the habit of settling disputes in an amicable manner would have a tremendous impact over the number of cases reaching up to the courts, he observed.

The recent amendments to the Civil Procedure Code were also an effort in that direction. The courts were under an obligation to try out arbitration, conciliation, Lok Adalat and mediation for settlement of disputes before it is taken up for trial, the Chief Justice pointed out.

Deploring the ethical degradation that has affected the judges as well, B. Sudershan Reddy, High Court Judge, said a `Code of Conduct' was the need of the hour. The foundations of the judiciary were being shaken by `mediocrity and self-complacency', he said.

G. Bikshapathy, High Court Judge, while calling for `value- based judgments uninfluenced by extraneous considerations' said the judiciary officers have to maintain dignity and decorum even outside the court rooms.

Bilal Nazki, High Court Judge, said constant assessment and training was imperative for judicial officers. P. Lakshmana Reddy, Director, A.P. Judicial Academy, also spoke.

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