Update knowledge, Justice Kapadia tells judges, lawyers (Lead)

May 2nd, 2010 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Chief Justice of India-designate Justice S.H. Kapadia Sunday said that it was incumbent upon judges and lawyers to learn commercial laws to compete in global environment and to lend stability to the recession-hit economy.
Delivering the valedictory address at a two-day national consultation for second generation reforms in legal education here, Justice Kapadia said: “I am reliably told that an impression is being formed that the judges and lawyers in India do not even conceptually have any knowledge of business and commercial laws.”

He said knowledge of economic and accountancy laws was a pre-requisite for the stability of the economy hit by recession.

Justice Kapadia pointed to his own yearning for updating knowledge and said: “I live like a hermit and work like a horse.”

In his address, the Chief Justice-designate dealt with several issues including judicial activism, role of senior lawyers in legal reforms and the nature of the legal education that should be imparted to budding lawyers.

Expressing concern over the impression about lack of knowledge among lawyers of business and commercial laws, Justice Kapadia said it was detrimental to the interests of advocates.

As a result of this, some of the legal work involving preparation of contracts is getting routed to foreign law firms, he said.

In this context, Justice Kapadia said that interpretation of the production sharing contract was a difficult area and “we are not up to the mark” in it.

In an apparent disapproval of judicial activism, Justice Kapadia said judicial activism and judicial restraint were two inter-linked facets of a court’s functioning.

“If judicial activism goes beyond a point, then it is against the principle of judicial restraint,” he said.

The Chief Justice-designate chided senior lawyers for their lack of seriousness for deliberation involving judicial reforms or legal education.

“I don’t see that kind of dedication among the senior lawyers. Could they have not spared half an hour time? Are they so busy?” he asked.

Addressing law students, Justice Kapadia said there was a difference between intelligence and intellect. He said that what we need in our students is intellect - a probing mind.

He said that “experience and a probing mind is the very basis of intellect and you (students) need to nurture it”.

Talking about teachers imparting legal education, Justice Kapadia said: “What we have said about lawyers and judges equally applies to the professors.”

He said that professors of law institutions too should brush up their knowledge of the commercial laws.

Presenting the resolution adopted by the two-day meet, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said that the legal system was in a state that required major surgery to put it on track.

“We need a major surgery. A mere a dose of medicine would not cure all that is ailing our legal system,” Moily said.

The law minister said: “We look forward to the type of dramatic changes (as suggested by the prime minister in his inaugural address Saturday) under the leadership of Chief Justice-designate Justice S.H. Kapadia.”

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