(The Quint is reposting this article, first published on 19 May 2018, to mark the day Justice Jasti Chelameswar demitted office.)
Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court who had revolted by holding a controversial 12 January presser, shared dais with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on his last working day on Friday, 18 May.
Justice Chelameswar, who retires on 22 June, sat on a bench headed by the CJI along with Justice DY Chandrachud as Friday was the last working day before the apex court closes for the long summer vacation.
It is the custom in the top court that a retiring judge, on his last day, is given the honour of sitting with the CJI in the majestic court room no 1.
Justice Chelameswar, who has been at loggerheads with the CJI over the functioning of the apex court, including the allocation of sensitive cases and on recommendation of judges for appointment to higher judiciary, maintained the tradition of sharing the dias with the CJI.
Speaking at an event organised by Lawyers Collective in Delhi, Chelameswar said that it was the younger generation that stood by him and the ones whose support he expected only attacked him.
While saying that he doesn’t want to offend anybody, he stressed upon the fact that whatever is good needs to be preserved and if something is doubtful, it needs to be questioned and rectified.
Reiterating the fact that he doesn’t mean to hurt anyone, he said that he stood up for what he felt was wrong.
Addressing the matter of the infamous press conference that exposed the crisis in the Indian judiciary, he said that he was well aware of the consequences of his actions.
Chelamesswar said that he has been appreciated by various sections of the judiciary for what he did, but he feels disappointed that not many people have the courage to come forward and speak up.
Concluding on a positive note, Chelameswar said that the people questioning the system will never be received kindly, but one must have the courage to do so for a better future.
Watch Chelameswar deliver the full speech here:
(This story was updated on 22 June after Justice Chelameshwar demitted office)
(With inputs from PTI and Bar & Bench)
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