by Rakesh Shukla
Frontier | 17 April, 2017
Many of us may at times have witnessed an irritable exchange between the judge and a lawyer in the court. All of us are human and irritation, anger, frustration and perceived provocations impact rational and balanced thought. However, often the judge may be heard to observe that he never lets exchanges with counsel impact the merits of the case and the interests of the clients involved. This could be due to the image of a judge as a person unaffected by emotions in the discharge of judicial functions. This self-image may make the thought “as a judge I get affected by angry exchanges” intolerable, and the thought gets suppressed and denied at a conscious level. However, the suppression is a bit like sweeping the dirt under the carpet. The suppressed emotions impact the functioning of the mind and the discharge of judicial duties. Almost everyone else can sense ‘Judge saheb naraz ho gaye hain’ (the judge has become angry).
A parallel – and more meaningful – paradigm could be to acknowledge the feelings engendered by the angry exchange and take them on board at the conscious level. Feelings which are suppressed are not amenable to processing and yet continue to impact human actions. Once feelings are in the conscious domain they can be processed by one’s mind. A judge after acknowledging the feelings of irritability may take a sip of water and can think “Maybe it is better not to pass a final order today” or “Maybe I should adjourn this case today” or “Maybe I should recuse myself from this case”. It opens the possibility of conscious choice to reduce the impact of the angry-irritable feeling engendered by the exchange.Read More »