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Book Review

Book Review : Mirroring society through judgments

Justice Kailash Gambhir’s book is a must-read for lawyers and students


THE book, The Voice Within….Social messages through Judgments, by Justice Kailash Gambhir, looks at the ills plaguing society which have been given profound treatment, not only legally but also as a voice of society. It is an amalgamation where Justice Gambhir’s law researchers, who worked at different times of his tenure, have come together to compile the social messages given by him on various issues while delivering his judgments. This is a one of a kind attempt to bring forth the dilemmas a judge faces while delivering his verdict on issues which we pass off as normal problems in our society, be it dowry deaths, bride burning, rape, road rage, drunken driving, and so on.

As the author says, one of the responsibilities of a judge is to do complete justice between the parties before it and also to serve the cause of social justice whenever an opportunity presents itself. Justice Gambhir did that as he in his journey came across cases where he saw social evils of society and felt the pain and penned down a few lines in the hope that they would have a positive impact on society. This book is indeed a testament of his quest for social justice.

The book has been divided into chapters topically, like crime against women, education, motor accidents and claims, matrimonial cases and includes a chapter on the speeches and articles, which is worth reading. The title of the book justifies its philosophy, the voice within, which is the voice of justice when confronted with bitter realities of our society. For example, in the case of Beeru vs State of NCT of Delhi (2014(1) JCC 509, page 11), while dealing with a rape case after the gruesome Nirbhaya rape and murder case had created a frenzy in the country and new laws came into place, Justice Gambhir impressed upon the Central and state governments to undertake some effective measures to sensitise, educate and create awareness amongst the people dealing with sexual offences. He wrote about the barbarity of the crime in the following words:

Such cases show as to what extent a person can stoop down just to satisfy his lust for sex. In a society where the custodian of the trust betrays the same and the protector of the dignity and honor becomes the violator, it would not be wrong to say that no one can easily be trusted. Such offences pollute the sanctity of relationship which were said to be made in heaven. A momentary pleasure out of lust for sex leaves an indelible scar, not only physically but also emotionally on the victim.

From the above passage it is clear that a veteran and erudite judge like Justice Gambhir through his poignant words reflected deeply on the socio-legal aspects of the cases and tried successfully through the mighty power of the judicial pen to use law as a powerful and potent weapon of social change. This book is thus a unique and innovative attempt by researchers to immortalise Justice Gambhir’s judicial conscience and humanistic spirit. The book will be undoubtedly valuable for lawyers and students; it’s a must-read.

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