STRIKING A BALANCE
India Legal|January 10, 2022
The Maharashtra imbroglio has shown the need to keep a balance between institutions. It is best to apply the first principles of criminal law here-police investigate, judges decide
KAMALJIT SINGH GAREWAL

SIXTEEN years ago when the Punjab & Haryana High Court was celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the move to Chandigarh, the editorial committee tasked with producing a commemorative volume, began to look for a suitable emblem for the court. And unraveled a bala ance. It was not an ordinary balance but an uneven one, which, according to the architect, Monsieur Le Corbusier, was not a balance with two equal weights but one which is counter balanced in the complexities of the determinant factors: the length of the lever arms and the different weights which they support”. So the uneven balance became the emblem of the Court.

The design of the Capital Complex itself reflected the separation of powers, with the Secretariat and the Legislature standing as close neighbours. The High Court at some distance, designed as a great gate, was inspired by the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri. Everyone was supposed to enter through this huge gate and come under the Court's judicial umbrella. Now only judges, whose court rooms are in the old wing, enter this way. But after the courts assemble, one sees lawyers and litigants standing under it awaiting their turn. The uneven balance, translated to real-life situations in a court, balances justice between the humble citizen and the mighty state, the fulcrum shifting towards the citizen to balance the state's immense power. A very apt emblem for a High Court, simple, contemporary and down to earth. The oft-used symbol of justice is Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice, who is blind-folded, holds a sword in one hand, and the Scales of Justice in the other. Justice has to be open-eyed.

Coming back to striking a balance. Judges try to do so when a matter is presented before them. But there are so many things for judges to examine before pronouncing a balanced verdict. At the time of giving injunctions, judges look for balance of convenience and at the end of a civil trial, look for balance of probabilities. Just as the finance minister balances budgets, companies their balance sheets and powerful nations look for balance of power.

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