Justice Midha pays homage to judges, lawyers who succumbed to COVID-19, bids farewell to HC

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New Delhi, July 7 (PTI) Justice J R Midha paid homage to judges, judicial officers and lawyers who succumbed to COVID-19 as he bid adieu to the Delhi High Court on Wednesday after spending over 13 years on the bench.

“Covid has taken away a number of our former colleagues, counsel, judges, district court judges and high court staff. I pay homage to all the departed souls,” said Justice Midha.

Speaking at the virtual farewell organised by the high court in his honour, he also expressed concern over a large number of road accidents in the country, saying that even the COVID numbers will be faint before it.

Justice Midha, who was the sixth senior-most judge of the high court, attained the age of superannuation.

During his tenure, he delivered several key judgements including recognition of rights of stray dogs, guidelines for determining maintenance in matrimonial cases, special scheme for settlement of motor accident claims and guidelines for execution of decrees in civil suits.

Delhi High Court Chief Justice D N Patel said Justice Midha will be missed deeply.

“Justice Midha is spiritual person who proved that faith is the soul of success,” CJ Patel said in his speech.

Justice Midha said that he concluded his judicial career on the bench with “fullest satisfaction”.

“Judges' job is to impart justice and I am demitting office today with the fullest satisfaction of having discharged my such poised responsibility as per constitutional framework,” Midha said.

Midha also expressed that the Delhi High Court was the finest in the country among the high courts.

“Despite hard work and determination, I had never thought of or even dreamt of having reached this position. I would say that our judicial system is very strong and because of its fundamentals, lawyers without any legal background or godfather can be elevated to this position.”, he shared.

Justice Midha, who actively initiated judicial reforms in the sphere of motor accident claims, said that “he felt the pain of road accident victims”.

“India has got highest numbers of road accident in the world. The figure is so big that even Covid would feel faint in front of it. We have 6 lakh accidents in one year resulting in 1 and half lakh deaths, meaning one accident every minute and one death 3.5 minutes,” he said.

Stating that as a judge of a Constitutional court, effort should be to fill the lacuna in law, Justice Midha disclosed that his “most favourite judgement” was Sahara judgement of the Supreme Court where the apex court held that a dishonest litigant can be taken into custody by a court.

Midha concluded his farewell speech by playing a Bollywood song 'Shukriya' for the audience.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, Delhi government Officiating Standing Counsel Sanjay Lao, Bar Council of Delhi's Chairman Ramesh Gupta and President of Delhi High Court Bar Association Mohit Mathur also bid adieu to Justice Midha.

In a recent judgement on street/ community dogs, Justice Midha, while laying down guidelines regarding feeding of stray dogs, observed that animals have a right under law to be treated with compassion, respect and dignity, while asking the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to designate areas in consultation with resident welfare associations for feeding stray dogs in Delhi.

He said stray dogs have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community canines, while observing that in exercising this right, care caution should be taken to ensure that it does not impinge upon others and causes no harassment or nuisance.

Justice Midha also passed several significant judgements on motor accident claims and constituted a special committee, to be headed by a judge of the court, to supervise the implementation of a scheme formulated by it for such claims.

Through a judgement in December 2009, he formulated a special scheme for time bound settlement of motor accident claims within 90 to 120 days which was implemented in April 2010 and also a scheme for expeditious adjudication of cases before the Railways Claims Tribunal.

Justice Midha, in a December last year verdict, said that victims are unfortunately forgotten people in the criminal justice system, which tends to think more of the rights of the offender than that of the relief to the victims of a crime, and said it the duty of all courts to consider and pass an order of fair and reasonable compensation in every criminal case.

He formulated guidelines for execution of decrees and awards under the Code of Civil Procedure and ruled that a foreign state cannot claim sovereign immunity against enforcement of an arbitral award arising out of a commercial transaction.

Justice Midha recently laid down the guidelines for tracing proclaimed offenders, attaching their movable/ immovable properties and for their prosecution under the IPC.

He has also given guidelines for determination of maintenance in matrimonial matters by formulating an affidavit of assets, income and expenditure to be filed by both the parties in maintenance cases.

He has framed guidelines for expeditious enquiry under the Mental Health Act, 1987, and also to control the menace of quackery.

Justice Midha was appointed as an Additional Judge of Delhi High Court on April 11, 2008 and permanent Judge of that Court on July 6, 2011.

Before elevation, he practised before several courts and was the Standing Counsel of Delhi government before the high court from 2006 to March 2008.

From 1989 to 1992, Justice Midha was also teaching at Faculty of Law, DU. PTI ADS SKV SA

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