CJI Chandrachud praises three SC judges retiring in Junetext_fields
New Delhi: Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, and V Ramasubramanian, who are retiring from the Supreme Court, received a heartfelt tribute from Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Friday. He recalled their contributions to the service of the country.
The judiciary's independence is important for upholding the rule of law and a democratic way of life, according to Justice Joseph, who is third in seniority on the Bench.
“Independence of the Supreme Court is integral to maintaining a democratic way of life and rule of law. It is not very easy for a nation, which is a democracy having a Constitution, to slip into chaos and into just the opposite of democracy. The bar must always remain on its toes and it’s a bounden duty to be passed generation after generation,” he said in a farewell speech.
At a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to bid farewell to the three judges who would be demitting offices in June, the CJI spoke glowingly about their contribution to the judiciary.
On a rare occasion, a common farewell was organised for the three judges before their actual date of retirement, as the apex court closes for summer vacation on May 22 and resumes in July.
“We must celebrate the career of our three colleagues drawn from different parts of the country, each coming with their own experiences, their own learning, their own spirituality and having their own messages through their work and experiences,” the CJI said.
Recalling his association with Justice Joseph since their student days, when they were neighbours in Lutyens’ Delhi, he said, “We were friends who knocked on each other’s doors to invite the other to play, a game of football to play, Delhi’s weather permitting. Justice Joseph lived on 11, Tughlaq Road and I with my parents on 13, Tughlaq Road…But I must share a secret when I say that Justice Joseph was quite a football maestro. He taught me various tricks in the game of football.” The CJI said Justice Joseph’s knowledge of varied subjects shone through not only on the bench but also off it.
“He was an eloquent and persuasive lawyer and is an erudite judge. He is, however, humble despite his decades-long familiarity with the law in 19 years on the bench. Humble to the point of being self-effacing. He takes his work very seriously but he does not take himself very seriously, which is the hallmark of a great judge,” he said.
Justice Chandrachud said Justice Joseph has authored judgements which will hold the field for years to come on issues ranging from commercial to constitutional law.
Justice Joseph, in his address, also recalled his friendship with Justice Chandrachud and revealed he was a very good cricketer and loved batting, and now he is batting well on the judicial side.
The CJI also expressed gratitude to Justice Rastogi for his remarkable career in public service and his commitment to the pursuit of justice.
He recalled how along with Justice Rastogi he had taken steps towards making the court paperless during the Covid pandemic.
The CJI said Justice Rastogi had dealt with varied subjects and delivered important judgements on service and labour-related issues including grant of permanent commission to women in the Indian Navy.
Earlier in the day, the CJI termed Justice Rastogi a “great ally” who possessed judicial compassion and sensitivity for every cause.
“Brother Justice Rastogi, you personified in so many ways the judicial compassion and sensitivity to every cause which came before you. Brother Rastogi draws immense inspiration from his father Shri Harish Chandra Rastogi who was also an eminent civil lawyer in the same court,” the CJI said.
He was all praise for Justice V Ramasubramanian and his humbleness and simplicity, saying he got a formal education in Tamil language and went on to learn English only at the undergraduate level.
“He (Justice Ramasubramanian) went on to author a book. This is a message to law interns and young lawyers that judges like Justice Ramasubramanian are examples who show that irrespective of where you come from look for what you can achieve. If your reach is not larger than the grasp then what are heavens made for…. His life shows there is no substitute for hard work. His presence used to lighten up the mood in the courtroom,” he said.
CJI Chandrachud said Justice Ramasubramanian was part of the bench which cleared the way for crypto-currency in India in 2020.
With input from PTI