Tuesday, 29 December 2015

In a courtroom

For the first time I entered a courtroom today - a civil court in Sangareddy, Medak district. It was in connection with a land dispute we are embroiled in for the past ten years. I accompanied our accountant, who was to be cross-examined today as one of the witnesses who signed the gift deed (which is now being contested).

Anyway, I was impressed by the neat halls, verandahs and the whole structure of the building.  What impressed me most was the decorum in the courtroom.  Everyone who entered the courtroom, the lawyers in particular, would greet the judge with a namaste or a gentle bow.  That the judge hardly noticed these salutations is secondary.  It reminded me of our entry into the Churches and Chapels!  Then it struck me that this too is a place of respect and reverence.  Not necessarily for the person but for the role he is carrying out - that of ensuring justice for all.

The second thing I liked was the reverence all the lawyers had for the judge.  I'm sure not all would be pleased with him or approve of his decisions and that some - or most - would even curse him outside the courtroom... but in his presence they were all very very respectful and disciplined.  Even the senior lawyers much beyond the age of the judge himself, were of the same attitude.

Finally, the judge himself was very stern and sure of his role.  He reminded me of Fr Ivo who has the knack of asking one sharp question and leave us all bewildered.  Right at that moment we would not understand the relevance of that question but a calm and prepared reflection would help one see the centrality of that question to the matter in discussion.  This judge too had that unique ability.  He was stern but polite and most importantly swift.

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