Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Judicial Silence and Judicious Silence

There is a keen competition between Manmohan Singh and Justice Clarence Thomas on who is more taciturn. It is now reported that the U S Supreme Court was taken by complete surprise when on 14th January the famously reticent judge made a 4-word comment on the qualification of a defense lawyer.

Lawyers present in the court could not understand the substance of Thomas' remarks because they were least prepared to hear anything from him. The judge is a product of Yale Law School. But the school and the judge detest each other (though attempts are on to create a patch-up). He has justified his silence saying it is difficult to intervene in a voluble court and also that common courtesy demands that he is heard less. Surprisingly he has also admitted that he had never asked a question in school or college (he admitted this only after he was confirmed as a judge by the American senate after an acrimonious debate!) and that he was intimidated by other students.

Atleast Clarence Thomas is aware of his quality and has tried to reason it out. Our prime minister who is a personification of silence never admits his distinct quality. It is a case of judicious silence to avoid further problems which may arise when he starts speaking.

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