Bar protects judiciary from motivated onslaught, says CJI; hails contribution of Justice Bhushan

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New Delhi, July 2 (PTI) Chief Justice N V Ramana on Friday termed the Supreme Court Bar as “protector” of the institution from motivated 'onslaught”, which may affect functioning of the judiciary, and said its tradition to cherish judges' contribution led it to express gratitude to retiring judge Justice Ashok Bhushan.

Justice Bhushan, the sixth senior most judge of the apex court who will demit office on July 4, has been a part of several key verdicts ranging from the historic Ayodhya land dispute case, upholding validity of Aadhaar as also the one which held that Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the 'master of the roster'.

Speaking at the farewell function organised virtually by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the CJI said, “I must state, lawyers also serve another important role. The Bar is the protector of the institution. Lawyers must respect the institution and protect the judiciary from any onslaught which is likely to affect the functioning of the judicial system.

“I know, the Supreme Court Bar is always a frontrunner when it comes to supporting the institution from motivated attacks. They always cherish the contribution of Judges and appreciate their hard work. They never forget the efforts of Judges. The main reason this event was organized was for the Bar to express their gratitude to Justice Bhushan.” Justice Ramana hailed the contribution of Justice Bhushan to the judiciary and termed him as a humanist judge.

“Apart from being a great judge, he also has the distinction of being a fine gentleman. He is respected equally by both the Bar and the Bench, for the humility with which he conducts himself... It is Justice Bhushan's philosophy which sets him apart from everyone else.

“Justice Bhushan with his remarkable judgments has not only left an indelible mark in the history of Indian judiciary but by virtue of being a humanist judge has also left a mark in the minds and hearts of the people of India,” he said.

To the Bar, CJI Ramana said: “I wish and hope for all your cooperation and support to strengthen the system. I know and understand your difficulties in these hard days. But do remember the judiciary is always willing to extend their helping hand to the members of the Bar. A proper understanding between the Bar and Bench will help in resolving various issues. We must remember, in unity lies the strength,” he said.

With the retirement of Justice Bhushan, the apex court, having the sanctioned strength of 34 judges including the CJI, would be left with 26 justices.

Joining the virtual meet from Prayagraj, where Justice Bhushan has gone for the last rites of his mother, the outgoing judge thanked all for his successful tenure as judge of the top court and high courts of Allahabad and Kerala.

“I feel proud of serving the supreme temple of justice with utmost satisfaction, without any fear and favour, he said.

“During my tenure in this Court, I have tried my best to render justice to the people of this country. In the court of my moral conscience, I can say with conviction and pride that I have been true to my oath to discharge my duties without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I have upheld the Constitution and the laws,” Justice Bhushan said.

He thanked former Chief Justices, with whom he worked, and the present CJI for “unstinted support in the discharge” of his duties.

Justice Bhushan added that rendering justice was not an act of charity or mercy but an obligation of the court.

“Protection and enforcement of Constitutional right and freedom is both power and duty of the court. Grant of appropriate remedy is not the discretion of the judge but his obligation. Justice must be tempered with mercy but justice cannot be substituted by mercy.”, Justice Bhushan said.

Justice Bhushan said his heart was “filled with gratitude” and that his tenure as an apex court judge was a “privilege beyond description”.

In his message to the Supreme Court Bar, Justice Bhushan wished that the lawyers make their positive contribution towards the administration of justice with “positive thoughts and deeds”.

Justice did not forget to pay tribute to the work rendered by his personal staff and law clerks and said, “It would be ungracious of me when saying farewell not to pay a tribute to the work of my personal staff...”.

Attorney General of India KK Venugopal said Justice Bhushan had all the qualities of a good judge -- integrity, equanimity, knowledge, patience, common sense and compassion.

Senior advocate and SCBA President Vikas Singh said that with Justice Bhushan's retirement, the institution was not only losing a good judge but also a “great human being”.

Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai, Vice-President of Supreme Court Bar Association, also asserted that Justice Bhushan was a brilliant and firm judge.

Justice Bhushan had obtained a law degree from Allahabad University in 1979 and was enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh on April 6, 1979.

He was elevated as permanent judge of the Allahabad High Court on April 24, 2001.

He was sworn in as a judge of the Kerala High Court on July 10, 2014, and sworn in as its chief justice in March 2015.

After his elevation as an apex court judge on May 13, 2016, Justice Bhushan was part of several landmark judgements including the November 2019 verdict by a five-judge Constitution bench which cleared the way for construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. PTI ADS SJK SA

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