Justice B.R. Gavai Pays Tribute To Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi And Delves Into India As Envisaged By The Framers Of The Constitution

Update: 2023-11-06 08:09 GMT
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“It is not easy to draft a constitution for a country like India, given the landscape, diverse religious beliefs among the diverse population, residing in various corners of the country.” Justice Gavai commenced in his keynote address for the Second Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Memorial Lecture, on the topic, ‘Our Constitution and The Idea of India Therein,’ with these words.

It is the 75th year of the Indian Constitution, and today, 4th November, is the day the Draft Constitution was formally introduced in the Constituent Assembly. Justice Gavai expressed that hence it is a great tribute to a fine legal mind that was Justice Tripathi.

Justice Gavai continued that the powers possessed in the federal structure of the Constitution give it a unitary tilt. The Articles of the Constitution are divided in two groups – distribution of the legislative powers of the Parliament and State Parliament and Powers of the Courts. Justice Gavai quoted important aspects of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s speech highlighting that India will be a federation, and will have uniformity in all important matters to maintain the unity of the country such as defense, foreign affairs, etc. 

The Constituent Assembly intended that all citizens of all States of India will have the same rights and there will be only one Indian Constitution. This also meant that India will have a single judiciary; uniformity in civil and criminal laws such as the civil procedure code, criminal procedure code, transfer of property act, laws of marriage and divorce, to eliminate all diversity in remedial procedures; and all an India civil service to man important posts, keeping the country united.

“However good a Constitution may be, if those who are implementing it are not good, it will prove to be bad. However bad a Constitution may be, if those implementing it are good, it will prove to be good.” Quoting these words of Dr. Ambedkar’s speech before the Constituent Assembly, Justice Gavai said it is inspirational because it means that working of a constitution is not dependent on the nature of the constitution. He encouraged all students of law; lawyers; and other members of the legal fraternity to read Dr. Ambedkar’s speech.

Justice Gavai also touched upon the three trinities – Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity stating that they cannot be divorced from one another. He also observed that social democracy is a way of life and steps must be taken to eliminate the concentration of wealth in a few hands.

Justice Gavai traced the journey of federalism in the Indian Constitution through landmark decisions such as State of Rajasthan v. Union of India (1977, SC); S. R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994, SC); and Government of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India (2018, SC) and recalled Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer where he spoke of an independent judiciary and an accountable Parliament as the tenets of checks and balances.

Justice Gavai concluded by saying that the country has gone through many ups and downs and persevered. He said that we as Indians are lucky to be a part of India.

He congratulated the Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Foundation on its endeavours, which will contribute to the betterment of the field of legal education.

This was the second event of the Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Foundation, a non-profit organization established in the memory of Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi in 2022. Justice Tripathi was a prominent figure in India’s legal fraternity and started his career at the Patna High Court in Bihar. In their address to the invitees, the Foundation stated that it was only befitting that the event was held at Justice Tripathi’s karma bhoomi.

The entire legal community of Patna High Court came together to participate in the event. Also in attendance were Judges of the Supreme Court of India and other High Courts, Senior Advocates of various high courts, dignitaries from various fields and family and friends both present in-person and virtually.

Shri Y.V. Giri, Senior Advocate, Patna High Court and a close friend of Justice Tripathi, gave the opening address, recalling the illustrious family, which Justice Tripathi hailed from. He also praised Justice Tripathi for his precision and yet his humility as a lawyer. He recalled Justice Tripathi as a Judge and the discipline with which he held his court proceedings. He affectionately remembered Justice Tripathi as a man of few friends but strong friendships.

In his special address, Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Judge Supreme Court of India (retd.) reflected upon his friendship with Justice Tripathi, which he said surpassed the ambits of age. He said that Justice Tripathi was more concerned about the welfare of others, and he respected the latter for his strong sense of justice. He recalled his soft-spoken but firm approach and also enlightened the audience about Justice Tripathi’s spiritual affinity, which was not one of blind faith but based on knowledge and keen analysis. He praised Justice Tripathi’s beliefs in access to justice; social change; and betterment of society. He told the whole gathering that people from all strata love and respect Justice Tripathi and feel a deep sense of loss. He said that Justice Tripathi was a forward-thinking jurist and his thought process as a judge translated into his life. He concluded his reflections by affirming that Justice Tripathi has inspired many in the present generation in the Patna High Court. Justice Mukhopadhaya graciously spoke of his association with the Foundation and emphasized that the Foundation’s endeavours will benefit legal practitioners and students and other legal stakeholders.

As a Guest of Honour, Justice K. Vinod Chandran, Chief Justice Patna High Court, stated that the collection of people on this day of remembrance speaks volumes about Justice Tripathi. He recalled him as an erudite judge and spoke about his absolute sense of justice evident in his decisions. He stated that the Foundation’s work, done in Justice Tripathi’s, memory was bound to be remembered by the legal fraternity. He praised the choice of topic for the keynote address and stated that the Constitution of India is a document given by the People of India to Themselves. He briefly touched upon how the Constituent Assembly debates arrived at the concept of “We the People,” and how it was adopted even over the constitution in the name of God. He praised the State of Bihar and its prominent members who were part of the Constituent Assembly.

The event also marked the conclusion of the First Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Memorial Essay Competition, with the announcement of winners. The topic of the essay competition was also “Our Constitution and the Idea of India Therein.” Justice Jyoti Saran, Judge, Patna High Court (retd.), as one of the esteemed panelists of judges who evaluated the essays, gave his reflections about the high quality of the entries received and the depth of research and diversity in analysis. He said that given the broadness of the subject, the facets covered by the students, including one entry which explored the concept of women’s empowerment was noteworthy. Mr. Nilesh Beliraya, Ms. Shivangi Raj and Ms. Arshita Anand from the Chanakya National Law University, Patna were adjudged the first, second and third winners of the Essay Competition respectively.

The Foundation was inaugurated on 27 November 2022, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. The functioning of the Foundation is overseen by Justice Tripathi’s wife, Mrs. Alka Tripathi, as Founder and Trustee along with his daughters and son-in-law, Anushree Tripathi, Consultant (For Law on Climate Change), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Aditi Tripathi, Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court of India; Aakriti Tripathi, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, and Mr. Rahul Narayanan, Senior Corporate Counsel (Litigation), Amazon.


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