Report No. 117
2.11. It is time to advert to some suggestions received by the Commission in its search for concrete proposals for providing facilities for training of judicial officers. The search was a multi-pronged one in that what should be the institutional framework for imparting training, the subjects to be taught, the duration of the training and incidental and ancillary matters. In the words of a legal academic of repute, the basic aim for imparting training must be central to the programme of training. In his words the whole concept of judicial process has undergone metamorphosis, such as from an adjudication of conflicting claims to a creative dispute resolving process, balancing the competing interests with a view to maximising the total social interests through this process and as such it would be helpful if the judicial officers actively engaged in dispute resolving process are exposed from time to time to the emerging trends in legislative and judicial spheres.
There was a broad consensus on traditional lines on the topics forming the curricula for training. The question to be posed is, in what subjects should the judges be trained? Traditionally stated, the answer was, court management, current developments in law, judgment writing, handling the ways of the Bar, solicitude for human rights of the impoverished. To this can be added goals and objects of the Constitution, more particularly as set out in Part IV of the Constitution, the goals and objects of justice system, what constitutes justice and the role of justice legal system in Republican India.
The next question which was posed was the time frame for the training to be imparted pre-service, in-service, workshop, refresher courses, etc. It will also include the question up to what level judicial officers should receive training, the training varying from level to level. The emerging picture in this behalf from views received and discussions held was, in the words of an outstanding academic, that it should not be a one-shot affair. Depending upon the educational qualification and the length of practice at the Bar as minimum qualification, the pre-service training may vary from 1 to 2 years to 3 to 6 months. The refresher courses may be of the duration of 12 to 18 weeks. The training programme must include, apart from the pre-service training, continuous inservice exposure.
On the question of constitution of faculty, those who responded to the queries of the Commission were broadly of the view that legal academics, judges and some top members of the Bar must be invited to be the faculty members. It was said, 'It is the mistake, common enough in India, that knowledge grows necessarily in proportion to seniority, age and hierarchical position'.1 The suggestion was that, rejecting this untenable assumption, lawyers, judges and academics should be involved in terms of their specialists' competencies. A novel suggestion worthy of acceptance was that 'the victims of administration of justice may as well be invited to contribute to the training'2. One suggestion was that eminent citizens in different walks of life, not claiming to have direct specialisation in law, may as well be invited.
One academic expressed the view that 'if the bed-rock of the Constitution is a society which would be governed by laws rather than by men and that the entire transformation of the society was to be ushered in through law, then those responsible for implementing those laws ought to know the law and principles of justice'. A correlation, it was said, must be firmly ingrained in the minds of the entrants to judicial service between law and justice. There were numerous other suggestions more or less on the same line and primarily focussing upon the intensive training in the application of procedural laws (Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code), understanding of the penal law and more especially the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and certain local laws.
Two distinct trends were noticeable bearing on the question of what ought to be the subjects of topics to be taught at the time of the pre-service training. One view was that an effective grasp of procedural laws would help in reducing delays and expeditious disposal of causes and controversies brought before the court. The other view was that the goal of justice system is not any other than the one enshrined in the preamblar statement of the Constitution, i.e., of transforming the society in which there will be no exploitation of man by man, justice, social, economic and political, will inform all institutions of the national life including judiciary. Therefore, the goals of Constitution must be specifically taught so that justice system makes its effective contribution in the transformation of society.
For this purpose, it was suggested that the curriculum must be devised first for pre-service training and specific subjects should be reserved for refresher courses taking account of the developments in the field of law and administration of justice, both internal as well as external, from the time of entry in judicial service till the date of refresher course, the distance between the two should not in any case be more than five years. The Indian Institute of Public Administration holds refresher courses and it has an expertise in this behalf. Its view was that each judicial magistrate should be required to undergo three training programmes before he is able to reach the level of additional district judge.
It was of the opinion that the pre-service training course must spread over a period of one and a half years and one month's refresher course at an interval of 6 to 10 years of service, two weeks refresher course after 10 to 16 years of service and one week's seminar after 16 to 20 years of service. It was of the opinion that three days' conference of High Court Judges (biennial) and annual conference of Chief Justices of High Courts may as well be utilised for the purpose of acquainting the justices of the higher and highest courts in the developments and sociology of law. Such conference, it was suggested, may as well be utilised for a short duration to acquaint themselves of the effect of judgments rendered to determine whether the development has taken place in the right direction or not.
A member of the Bar expressed an opinion that instead of providing institutional training to the entrants to the judicial service, which would entail huge cost, it would be advantageous to provide statutorily that anyone who wishes to join subordinate judiciary must have adequate training under senior lawyers practising exclusively either in civil or criminal courts for a period of six months each, which would adequately, according to him, impart training to make such person competent to become an effective and efficient judge. Before the advent of three-years degree law course, it was incumbent upon anyone wishing to join the Bar to enrol under a senior advocate for a period of one year to be trained in the art of advocacy. After evaluating this mode of training, it has been given a decent burial. It is not possible to retrieve it from the past where it is buried.
Chief Justices of some of the High Courts responded to the query of the Commission. Sarvashri Satish Chandra and P.D. Desai jointly submitted their proposal. It was suggested that an entrant to Indian Judicial Service should be required to undergo a training. According to them, a direct recruit should be imparted institutional training for 11/2 years and 6 months' training in court and a promotee to the service should receive training for a period of 6 months at the Training of Judicial Officers 11institute. A further training should be imparted at the institute when a promotee is promoted to the senior scale. On the question of syllabus, they expressed an opinion.that the same may be adequately prescribed by a Committee of the Chief Justices.
They recommended a proviso that anyone who is promoted to Indian Judicial Service at the age of 50 years or above shall be exempt from undergoing any training or passing any departmental examination. Almost an identical scheme was recommended by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. Chief Justice Chandurkar of the Madras High Court was of the opinion that every person appointed to the service shall be required to undergo a training for one year at the end of which he must clear a departmental examination. In his view, anyone who is promoted to service at the age of 50 years or after shall be exempt from undergoing training.
One more suggestion received from one of the Chief Justices was that a Judicial Administration School should be established to impart training for the entrants to the judicial service on the topics of fairness, impartiality, objectivity and independence from executive interference. They may be trained, according to him, to undertake administration of justice free from personal bias and ideology. One other suggestion emanating from the Chief Justice was that on entering the service, a judicial officer may be designated as an apprentice for a period to be determined by High Court in each case and the should not be put in independent charge until the High Court is satisfied that he is in a position to deal with cases coming before him.
In his view, the training may take the form of observation in courts at all levels, coupled with lectures and discourses by the Judges of the High Court and Senior District and Sessions Judges. Rendering justice is the primary goal of any justice delivery system. In the context of Indian situation, rendering social justice is one of the imperatives for the justice system. Even if the system were to maintain a stance of 'judicialprocessual neutrality', it has to commit itself to the demands of change ordained by the Constitution. The shift in the objectives of Indian Judiciary should be traced to the imperatives of change, (with both value and materialistic orientations) emerge from the preamblar statement to the Constitution in terms of secularism, socialism, egalitarianism. This is juxtaposed to the existing realities in terms of abuse and misuse of law where "Rule of Law is operating more as a mask for the Rule of Class" as E.P. Thompson observes.3
The Kerala High Court Staff Association expressed an opinion that more intensive training is now required to be imparted in view of the inadequate knowledge acquired at the law colleges. It was suggested that a training must take the form of practical working in courts as also discussions with those well-versed in law and allied subjects. There were suggestions from Professors attached to law colleges and a few lawyers, all of whom while conceding the imperative necessity of imparting training to the entrants to judicial service differed in specifics, about the method of imparting training and subjects to be taught.
1. Dr. Upendra Baxi-comprehensive note submitted to LCI.
3. E.P. Thompson Whigs and Hunter, 1975, p. 1259, cited in Dr. G.S.R. Rao's note submitted to LCI.