A Tribute To Justice Muralidhar By Justice R V Easwar

Justice R V Easwar

8 Aug 2023 11:32 AM GMT

  • A Tribute To Justice Muralidhar By Justice R V Easwar
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    As I sat listening to the farewell speech of Justice Muralidhar on his retirement as Chief Justice of the Odisha High Court, two things struck me. First, can this man be provoked to anger at all? Second, why does he have to be so self-effacing? During my return flight to Chennai, I kept thinking of these traits in him. To the first question, the definite answer is a big NO. And the reason for this is quite simple, I thought. He does not view anything from a personal perspective, nor does he have a personal axe to grind. That seems to me to be super-human! His approach to anything that comes before him is solution-bound. He does not have a personal interest in anything. It is almost a saint-like. And even to the second question, the answer is the same. Self-negation is perhaps ingrained in him to such an extent that he refuses to think that even a small amount of credit can be taken by him to the exclusion of others, even for anything good which was initiated, processed and successfully completed by him.

    The adulation and the admiration for Justice Muralidhar in the Odisha High Court, among the colleague-judges, the registry and the Bar is seen to be believed. When the steps he took to drastically improve conditions there were being listed, and I sat listening to them, I thought: is there no limit to what a person can achieve in just two years! Surely, there has to be. But with Justice Muralidhar, even the sky was not the limit. Can one say he is workaholic? Certainly no, he has time for everything, if I know him. Apart from his judicial functions, he has time for the NJA in Bhopal, he has time for lectures in the judicial academies of other States, he has time for his music, his cricket, his reading, his friends and relatives, for his beloved mother and so on and so forth. And he does all these with a laugh that is infectious, as every one knows. I was racking my brain in vain to find any subject under the sun which he doesn’t know!

    In the early sixties, there was an ICS Judge in the Madras High Court, Justice P.V. Balakrishna Aiyar. He was so popular in the Bar, that I have heard that on his retirement the lawyers lined up on both sides from his chamber to his car and applauded him all the way. It was much before my time, but it was replayed in Odisha High Court yesterday, as Justice Muralidhar walked down to his car! There were many moist eyes; several court officials broke down while speaking! That was the moment; all of this was not because the man knew the law and was a brilliant, erudite judge; it was all because here was a man who was a human being first, and a compassionate one at that, who had the well-being of others in his heart, who empathised, who always thought what he could do for the down-trodden, the victimised and the marginalised. Some English Judge said long back that a judge should first be a gentleman, and if he knows the law it would help!

    I am proud to proclaim that I had the privilege to work in the Delhi High court with Justice Muralidhar for a few years. I can see for sure that the fire of justice burns inside him with the same vigour even today. It will manifest in several other ways, about that too, I am certain. Whatever he chooses to do now will only enrich the society and its values. For the time being, Justice Muralidhar, enjoy a well-earned retreat! Come back soon to the field of law, you belong there.

    Author is Former Judge of Delhi High Court

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