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The former Supreme Court judge made to comment while speaking on the importance of court case management, in response to a query over whether there is a need for administrative reform in the Supreme Court.
In a webinar hosted by Law Firm Link Legal India Law Services, Former Supreme Court judge, Justice (retd.) Deepak Gupta articulated his views on various topics such as legal education, evaluation of Judges, live streaming of cases, specialization in law and mental health of lawyers.
The Session was in the form of Q&A, which was moderated by Atul Sharma, Managing Partner, Link Legal.
When asked whether any administrative reform was required for the Apex Court in order to hear cases of public importance rather than hearing cases pertaining to individual rights, Justice (retd.) Gupta was prompted to observe that the Supreme Court is overburdened with cases.
This is partly the fault of judges, he said, "as we entertain petitions that have no business before the Court."
In this backdrop, he went on to observe, "That brings me to the another aspect, how do you manage the Supreme Court Registry?"
He went on to observe,
To resolve this issue, he recalled that he had earlier suggested in writing that a Committee should be constituted comprising five senior-most Judges outside the Collegium, who would have the longest tenure.
Gupta J. on how to improve Court case management
Other issues touched upon included the senstive topic of live streaming cases. Justice (retd.) Gupta opined,
"I am for live streaming of cases because Courts have to be transparent and open. When I was a student, I could walk into the Supreme Court and attend a hearing without getting a pass made. Today, we can watch the proceedings of the UK Supreme Court live-streamed."
On the topic of specialization in law in the initial years by lawyers, Justice Gupta suggested that every lawyer needs to have a broad-based practise during their initial years, after which they could specialize in their respective areas of interest.
He added that the branches of law are inter-related and that only a general practise would help lawyers to have a better understanding of the nuances of these branches.
The Former Supreme Court Judge also expressed that evaluation of Judges is a very necessary process. In this regard, he noted that though District Court Judges across the country are evaluated, the same was not being done for judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
However, Justice (retd.) Gupta clarified that Judges should not be assessed on the number of judgments that he/she has delivered. Rather, he opined that they should be evaluated on some criteria which would balance the credibility, transparency, integrity, competence of the Judge along with the quality of Judgments.
The former judge also made pertinent observations on the importance of mental health of lawyers, observing that,
"I am of the view that one needs to have atleast two/ three interests outside law. When Law is your profession, you need to know many other things. Law is a very stressful profession. When the client pays you fees, he passes on his stress to you as well. Therefore, you need to have some interest outside law. I would also suggest that one of the interests should be physical activity."