New Delhi: Demitting office after a tumultuous tenure, Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Monday said the Supreme Court will stand supreme not just for now but for all times to come and that judicial independence cannot be taken away.
Speaking at a farewell ceremony hosted by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), he said justice must have a humane approach and should be insulated from “disruptive action”.
“Independence of judiciary, the collegiality of brother and sister judges should be supreme. The Supreme Court stands supreme not just now but for the all times to come. Any kind of craftsmanship cannot steal away judicial independence. I must add that truth has no colour,” Justice Misra said.
“Law is not static, jurisprudence is not static….I tell you justice must have a humane face and a humane approach. The artificial divisions and barriers of caste, creed, religion and gender tend to divide us. Justice must be insulated from disruptive action. Scales of justice have to be balanced as far as possible. That is the essence of justice,” he said.
Justice Misra, who delivered a slew of judgements in the company of brother judges on individual freedoms and other important issues, had his last working day on Monday. Chief Justice-designate Ranjan Gogoi will be sworn in on Wednesday.
Justice Misra said neutrality in each case, whether involving greater or smaller ramifications “is same for us (judges)”. “Tears are tears. Popular perception or capacity to building narratives for any particular leanings can never guide the course of justice.”
He said the constitutional promises are to be fulfilled and their fruits must reach the common man on the ground, saying equity and justice can’t be disassociated. Judges in India were ahead of their counterparts in other countries.
Maintaining that justice delivery system should be geared to fulfil the constitutional promises and they must reach the common man on the ground, Chief Justice Misra said that he has not “disassociated the lady of equity from the lady of justice.”
The outgoing Chief Justice said there was no difference between tears of a poor man or those of an affluent person. He said sometimes history can be kind and unkind as well but “I judge people not from history but by their activities and perspectives.”
Complimenting CJI Misra for his various judgements upholding the liberty and gender justice, Justice Gogoi said, “In times of great political churning, alongside huge diversity of thought and opinion, we are divided, perhaps more than ever, by lines of caste, religion, ideology. These are issues that cut and divide us. They make us hate those who are different. The challenge is to protect a common world view.”
He said that inadequacies accompany the system of justice delivery, pointing to the “exemplary erudition and exemplary fortitude’ with which the judicial system has functioned.
Telling the gathering that “we are living in the times where what we should eat, wear have stopped being little things of our personal lives,” Justice Gogoi said, “There is lot to look ahead. System has done well.”
“We must allow constitutional morality to prevail whenever we have doubts. Constitutional moral views must prevail because that gives us the most balanced views, he said.
The Chief Justice-designate said, “If we fail in this endeavour to hold true to our Constitutional ideals, we will continue to kill, hate each other. “It is in times like this that our resilience to the ideals of the Constitution is tested.”
Attorney General K.K.Venugopal again batted for increasing the retirement age of the top court and High Court judges including four to five fold increases in their remunerations.
The AG disapproved of an oft-repeated suggestion that after retirement, judges should not accept post-retirement positions in places requiring their expertise.
Recalling the turbulent phase which the top court saw during the stewardship of CJI Misra when Supreme court Bar Association President Vikas Singh took exception to the manner in which “some members of the bar tried to take advantage of the situation to the detriment of the institution”.
Advocating that the judges should continue to get for the rest of their lives the salary they were drawing, Vikas Singh said the judges were the most vulnerable target of attacks based on conjectures.
Complimenting the legal fraternity for rallying around the institution in the period of its crisis, Singh said that things would not have been set right if the bar had not stepped in.
Justice Misra visited press lounges in the Supreme Court complex where he interacted with journalists, a first such interaction by a retiring CJI.