“Judges wait to retire and turn into arbitrators”

Justice Sureshi

Justice Suresh is among the few retired judges who hasn’t turned into an arbitrator but into a human rights activist and has worked extensively for civil liberties in India. He was appointed the additional judge of the Bombay High Court in 1986 and became the permanent judge in 1987. He is a member of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal and had the loudest voice when the 1992-1993 blasts ripped Mumbai city apart and after the Gujarat genocide took place in 2002.

Justice Suresh appealed against the inaction towards Justice P D Dinakaran for charges of corruption. He stood against the Maharashtra Government and criticized its stand against the state towards the slum rehabilitation projects in suburban Mumbai. He sturdily echoed the thought of giving more powers to the Comptroller Audit General (CAG). Author of two books Fundamental Rights As Human Rights and All Human Rights are Fundamental Rights.

He is known for being upright and does not mince his words on taking names of fellow judges in any wrong doing. In an exclusive and free-wheeling interview to Legal Era, Justice Suresh emphasizes on the need to make judges accountable and orient law students to improve the future of the judiciary in our country.

Q: Judicial academies in 22 states have received a letter from the law ministry to upgrade their curriculum. You think we need to train them?

A: Of course, judges surely need to be trained periodically. But the target here is only the district judges, additional judges and senior civil judges. I ask why? Don’t the high court judges need training? Even they need orientation. The society is changing and one has to catch up with changing times. The judges need better understanding of the laws, the procedures. According to me, everything needs to be looked into from the human rights point of view and sensitization is needed in the training to the judges.

Q: How do you think we can do that? What is the procedure of this training?

A: About 15-20 of the subordinate court judges are selected every year. They stay at judicial academies for about 3 months and in the end submit a copy of all their learning. You can’t have moot courts for judges. In my view, the biggest training a judge should be given is to be decisive, to know how to cut short lengthy procedures. Now, tell me how can you train anyone to do that?

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