Justice Sawant contributed to ensure autonomy of courts: Pawar

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Mumbai/Pune, Feb 15 (PTI) Condolences poured in for former Supreme Court judge P B Sawant who died due to cardiac arrest in Pune in Maharashtra on Monday morning, with NCP chief Sharad Pawar hailing Sawant for his 'valuable' contribution to ensure that courts remained autonomous in democracy.

Justice Sawant, 90, was one of the co-conveners of the Elgar Parishad conclave held on December 31, 2017 in Pune.

He was also part of a panel that conducted an investigation into the 2002 Gujarat riots.

He had also served as chairman of the Press Council of India.

Pawar, a former Union minister, said Justice Sawant took care throughout his life to see how his intelligence would help the common people. He also insisted on Constitutional values, the NCP chief added.

Apparently referring to the reported remarks made by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi about the judiciary, Pawar said, 'PB Sawant's importance gets highlighted at a time when a former Chief Justice of India talked about the judiciary being in a ramshackle state.

Not only in giving justice, he (Sawant) kept forth views aggressively for the last man in the social sector too'.

Maharashtra ministers Anil Deshmukh and Balasaheb Thorat also expressed grief over the death of Justice Sawant.

'Pained by the demise of noted former Justice P.B.

Sawant Ji. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of grief. May the departed soul rest in peace,' Home Minister Deshmukh tweeted.

Revenue Minister and Congress leader Thorat said a renowned jurist died in the form of Sawant.

'...My tributes to him! We are part of the Sawant familys grief,' Thorat said in Marathi on the micro-blogging site.

NCP MP from Baramati Supriya Sule said the country has lost a 'great jurist'.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in his condolence message said the movement of social reforms in the state suffered an irreparable loss in the demise of Justice Sawant.

'Justice Swant will be remembered for his contribution towards the judiciary and social reforms. We have lost a person who was vocal on various social and political issues of the country,' he said.

Ajit Pawar said after retiring as a supreme court judge, Justice Sawant devoted himself to the social work and toiled to strengthen the freedom of expression. 'He went on to become the voice for the weak and deprived class,' Ajit Pawar added.

Retired High Court judge justice B G Kolse Patil said justice Sawant 'was a testimony of how an ideal person should be'.

'Be it social, personal or judicial life, Justice Sawant never committed any mistake,' he added. PTI ENM SPK NSK NSK