The Conference of Chief Justices of all High Courts was held on 3rd and 4th December, 1999 in the Supreme Court premises. During the said Conference, the Chief Justices unanimously resolved to adopt the “Restatement of Values of Judicial Life” (Code of Conduct).
WHEREAS by a Resolution passed in the Chief Justices’ Conference held at New Delhi on September 18-19, 1992, it was resolved that it is desirable to restate the pre-existing and universally accepted norms, guidelines and conventions reflecting the high values of judicial life to be followed by Judges during their tenure of office;
AND WHEREAS the Chief Justice of India was further requested by that Resolution to constitute a Committee for preparing the draft restatement to be circulated to the Chief Justices of the High Courts for discussion with their colleagues, which was duly circulated on 21.11.1993;
AND WHEREAS suggestions have been received from the Chief Justices of the High Courts after discussion with their colleagues;
AND WHEREAS a Committee has been reconstituted by the Chief Justice of India on April 7, 1997, to finalize the ‘Restatement of Values of Judicial Life’ after taking note of the draft Restatement of Values of Judicial Life prepared by a Committee appointed pursuant to the Resolution passed in the Chief Justices’ Conference 1992 and placed before the Chief Justices’ Conference in 1993;
AND WHEREAS such a Committee constituted by the Chief Justice of India has prepared a draft restatement after taking into consideration the views received from various High Courts to the draft which was circulated to them;
NOW THEREFORE, on a consideration of the views of the High Courts on the draft, the restatement of the pre-existing and universally accepted norms, guidelines and conventions called the ‘RESTATEMENT OF VALUES OF JUDICIAL LIFE’ to serve as a guide to be observed by Judges, essential for an independent, strong and respected judiciary, indispensable in the impartial administration of justice, as redrafted, has been considered in the Full Court Meeting of the Supreme Court of India on May 7, 1997 and has been ADOPTED for due observance.
RESTATEMENT OF VALUES OF JUDICIAL LIFE:
(1) Justice must not merely be done but it must also be seen to be done. The behaviour and conduct of members of the higher judiciary must reaffirm the people’s faith in the impartiality of the judiciary. Accordingly, any act of a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, whether in official or personal capacity, which erodes the credibility of this perception has to be avoided.
(2) A Judge should not contest the election to any office of a Club, society or other association; further he shall not hold such elective office except in a society or association connected with the law.
(3) Close association with individual members of the Bar, particularly those who practice in the same court, shall be eschewed.
(4) A Judge should not permit any member of his immediate family, such as spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law or any other close relative, if a member of the Bar, to appear before him or even be associated in any manner with a cause to be dealt with by him.
(5) No member of his family, who is a member of the Bar, shall be permitted to use the residence in which the Judge actually resides or other facilities for professional work.
(6) A Judge should practice a degree of aloofness consistent with the dignity of his office.
(7) A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a member of his family, a close relation or a friend is concerned.
(8) A Judge shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination.
(9) A Judge is expected to let his judgments speak for themselves; he shall not give interview to the media.
(10) A Judge shall not accept gifts or hospitality except from his family, close relations and friends.
(11) A Judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a company in which he holds shares is concerned unless he has disclosed his interest and no objection to his hearing and deciding the matter is raised.
(12) A Judge shall not speculate in shares, stocks or the like.
(13) A Judge should not engage directly or indirectly in trade or business, either by himself or in association with any other person. (Publication of a legal treatise or any activity in the nature of a hobby shall not be construed as trade or business).
(14) A Judge should not ask for, accept contributions or otherwise actively associate himself with the raising of any fund for any purpose.
(15) A Judge should not seek any financial benefit in the form of a perquisite or privilege attached to his office unless it is clearly available. Any doubt in this behalf must be got resolved and clarified though the Chief Justice.
(16) Every Judge must at all times be conscious that he is under the public gaze and there should be no act or omission by him which is unbecoming of the high office he occupies and the public esteem in which that office is held.
These are only the “Restatement of the Values of Judicial Life” and are not meant to be exhaustive but only illustrative of what is expected of a Judge.
Provisions of the Act