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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What are the qualities of a good judge?

What in your opinion are the qualities of a good judge?

The judiciary, especially in a democratic state, is well known for its impartiality. In numerous cases it has taken decisions even against the state for the achievement of the ends of justice. This impartiality of the judicial system in a democratic state can be attributed to the good qualities of judges who have always asserted their independence from executive control.

The qualities of a good judge include patience, wisdom, courage, firmness, alertness, incorruptibility and the gifts of sympathy and insight. In a democracy, a judge is accorded great respect by the state as well as its citizens. He is not only permitted to assert his freedom and impartiality but also expected to use all his forensic skill to protect the rights of the individual against arbitrariness. Though such a state of affairs makes it easy for the judge to exercise his functions, he still requires many qualities to perform his duties effectively.

In the execution of his functions, a judge has to exercise patience and alertness so that he can hear all the arguments of the contending parties to a dispute and arrive at a wise decision. An impatient judge can hardly act with reason, however wise he may be. Patience and alertness are therefore essential qualities of a good judge.

The decisions of a judge sometimes provoke the anger of certain individuals and he becomes the victim of revenge. In condemning a person to death, for example, a judge might cause the relatives of the condemned man to nurse feelings of revenge against him. The life of the judge is thus exposed to danger, sometimes even after his retirement from judicial service. Therefore, a good judge is also a man of courage, who is incorruptible and prepared to accept the consequences of his decisions. A pusillanimous and corruptible judge is no bulwark of justice.

A good judge is, however, not destitute of sympathy. He considers the feelings of all parties with sympathy and understanding. His knowledge of the law and human affairs is so extensive that he experiences little difficulty in grasping the main issues of the dispute quickly. His insight into human nature enables him to detect the criminal almost immediately; yet he is prepared, at times to set the accused free if the charge against him is not framed properly by the police. This proves his impartiality, an attribute that inspires the confidence of the citizens in his ability and sense of justice.

These arguments point to the conclusion that a good judge is a person of many qualities.

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