Justice Augustine George Masih, judge of the Supreme Court, speaking at an event at the Punjab & Haryana High Court, said that lawyers should not try to mislead judges and if they do so, they will risk losing their credibility.
“Please don’t ever think judges do not know anything or what you are saying we don’t understand. Don’t try to be smart because most of us come from you only, because you lose your credibility in that process. We know the difficulty faced by the counsels, the judge will also give time to put forth your submissions. It’s always better to be frank than doing something which is probably not expected or required by you,” the judge said.
On Saturday, Justice Masih was speaking on the occasion of the felicitation ceremony organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association for Justices Surya Kant, Rajesh Bindal and A.G. Masih, judges of the Supreme Court.
Justice Masih was recently elevated to the Supreme Court. Previously, he served as the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court and as a judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
While sharing his journey from a lawyer to a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Masih said that he is a first-generation lawyer and did not know anyone except a clerk.
“It’s through him that I learnt the art of filing drafting and got an opportunity to work with Mr. J.S. Basu Senior Advocate because he was his Munshi.”
The Judge further said that, “God gave me opportunities and I did grab them. Whenever you get an opportunity, please don’t let it go as a lawyer.”
Justice Masih told the audience that whenever his senior couldn’t come to court, the judge would call upon him to address the court, and when the request for a Passover was not accepted, he would start with the argument.
“That’s how I learnt how to argue”. The judge said that his legs used to tremble initially, even for an adjournment, but gradually, “with the experience and confidence gained, things moved on.”
Furthermore, he said, “I believe I did not intentionally hurt anyone, If I said something that would be only for the betterment of the younger lot because I know that they are the future of our bar…“
The credit for the judgments delivered by the judges goes to the bar. It is the assistance provided by the bar that is actually reflected in the judgments, the judge added.
Emphasising the importance of guidance, Justice Masih told the bar that juniors should never feel ashamed of asking seniors; they will surely guide you. “There is nothing like ego.”
Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bhari and other judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court were also present at the event, and the President of the Bar Association, Advocate G.B.S. Dhillon, also spoke on the occasion.