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Justice must be insulated from 'disruptive factors', says outgoing CJI

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 01, 2018 23:25 IST
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At his farewell function, CJI Dipak Misra said that tears of a poor man is equal to tears of a rich man.

IMAGE: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra speaks at his farewell function on the Supreme Court lawns in New Delhi. Photograph: ANI

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra's tumultous 13-month tenure drew to a close and he used his last public address on Monday as the top judge to stress independence of judiciary stands "erect" and will remain so, asserting there is "collegiality" amongst the judges of the Supreme Court.

Underlining that the Supreme Court stands supreme, Justice Misra also said justice must be insulated from "disruptive factors" and that the scales of justice has to be balanced as far as possible as that is the true essence of justice.


"It cannot tilt to either side owning to anyone's aggressive views. The lady of justice is blindfolded to signify neutrality, since each case whether involving a greater or smaller ramification is the same for us," he said, adding justice must have a human face and a humane approach.

The remarks by the CJI came during a farewell given by the lawyers association of the apex court after Chief Justice-designate Ranjan Gogoi said the commitment of the judges and lawyers towards the judiciary has stood the test of time.

Justice Gogoi also said beliefs must be constantly evaluated on the touchstone of constitutional morality, which must prevail when there arises any doubt or conflict, and said this is true patriotism to the Constitution.

"I echo the feelings of my brother Justice Gogoi, the Chief Justice-Designate that independence of judiciary stands erect and that shall stand erect and there is the collegiality amongst the brother and sister judges of the court and the Supreme Court stands supreme. Not today and in times ever to come," Misra said at the function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Justice Gogoi will be sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind on October 3 to become the 46th CJI.

Justice Gogoi, who was among the four senior-most judges to virtually revolt against Justice Misra in January over various issues including assigning of cases in the apex court, praised the outgoing CJI for an "illustrious career".

"As a judge, his greatest contribution to Indian jurisprudence has been on issues of Constitutional significance particularly with regard to civil liberties," he said.

Justice Misra said the Indian judiciary is "one of the most robust institutions in the world" and that is because of the judges, who always believe in upholding the law and thereby maintaining the legitimacy of the judicial system or the legal system.

"Our judges are far ahead from their counterparts in other countries, shining with the abilities to resolve mindboggling number of cases."

IMAGE: Outgoing Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra shakes hands with CJI-designate Justice Ranjan Gogoi during former's farewell function. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

Justice Misra, who has faced criticism from outside and within the judiciary over several issues including constitution of benches and allocation of cases, reminded young lawyers of classical Greek Philospher Socrates and quoted him "when the debate is lost slander becomes the tool of loser".

"Some cases may be won some may be lost depending on the merit of the case and the interpretation of law," he said, adding, "The legal debate, discussion has to be taken in a healthy spirit and any kind of annoyance or a different feelings has to be avoided."

"Lawyers must not turn out to be sole loser by imputing motive to everything. They can disassociate themselves from such tendencies," Misra said in comments that appeared to be aimed at some high profile lawyers who have often targeted him.

The outgoing CJI was accompanied by Justice Gogoi to the dais where the former said the tears of a poor man is equal to tears of a rich man.

"Tears to me tears are pearls and I have to collect them with equity, justice and my constitutional perception," said Justice Misra, who will demit the office of CJI on Tuesday.

Justice Misra as CJI was part of the bench which gave several landmark verdicts on decriminalising adultery provisions, gay sex and allowing entry of women of all ages to Sabarimala temple in the last fortnight.

"There are artificial divisions or barriers of caste, creed, religion and gender that may attempt to divide us but the golden fret of humanity that binds us to each other and that alone constitute the spirit and ether of justice," he said.

Justice Misra's view was shared by Justice Gogoi, who also expressed concern over division in the society along the lines of caste, class, gender, religion and ideology and said that constitutional morality must prevail when there arises any doubt or conflict.

Justice Misra said truth has no colour and added "Any kind of craftmanship cannot steal the judicial independence but I must simultaneously add we require to have courage, character, grit and integrity to face whatever its takes to interpret the law correctly and deliver justice".

Earlier in the day, Justice Misra held court with Justice Gogoi for the last time on Monday, and stopped a lawyer who broke into a song to wish him long life, to say that he was "responding from the heart" but will speak from his mind in the evening.

The CJI, however, said later at the farewell function, that now he has decided not to speak from the mind and would keep talking from the heart.

Justice Misra, who presided over benches that delivered a series of key verdicts, including the ones on Aadhaar and homosexuality during the last 10 days, appeared to be emotional during the proceedings which lasted for 25 minutes.

At the CJI-led bench, also comprising Justices Gogoi and A M Khanwilkar, Misra made it clear at the outset that he would not hear matters listed for urgent hearing and they would be dealt by his successor on October 3.

The brief proceedings in CJI's courtroom witnessed an emotional turn and drama when a lawyer crooned, Tum jiyo hazaron saal..., singing the opening lines of a Hindi film song from the late 1950s usually played on birthdays.

The Chief Justice in his inimitable style said, "no, no" and stopped the lawyer from singing further.

IMAGE: D Y Chandrachud arrives to attend Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra's farewell function. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

Then, in a strange turn of events, lawyer R P Luthra mentioned two ostensibly controversial tweets by senior lawyer Indira Jaising and advocate Prashant Bhushan against the outgoing CJI, criticising his recent judgments, including the verdict on the Koregaon-Bhima violence case.

He urged the court to take cognisance of the tweets, but the bench didn't respond after perusing them.

Later, the CJI visited journalists in the apex court premises and parried all the questions including those related to his experience as head of the judiciary.

The CJI sopke at length about English literature and famous poet and writers.

"What are your future post retirement plans," a scribe asked.

"Astrology is not a science, yet people believe in it. I am not an astrologer," the CJI responded.

CJI Misra has headed various benches of different combinations, and delivered several verdicts in the recent past.

These include upholding the Centre's flagship scheme Aadhaar with certain riders and decriminalising consensual gay sex and adultery.

The verdicts also include judgements in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case and allowing all women entry into the Sabarimala temple.

Justice Misra was appointed additional judge of the Orissa high court on January 17, 1996, before his transfer to the Madhya Pradesh high court.

He became a permanent judge on December 19, 1997.

He assumed charge of the office of chief justice of Patna high court on December 23, 2009 and became chief justice of the Delhi high court on May 24, 2010.

He was elevated as a judge of the apex court on October 10, 2011 and became the Chief Justice on August 28, 2017.

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