Quoting Isaac Newton, Justice Madan B. Lokur humbly attributed his achievements to “standing on the shoulders of giants”, on his final working day as a judge of the apex court.
Justice Lokur was speaking at his farewell ceremony organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association at the court premises on Friday.
“Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia allowed me to become a member of the E-Committee even though I was a very new judge...Chief Justice R. M. Lodha greatly confided in me in assigning me the coal block allocation case...”, said Justice Lokur.
In addition to the bench, He stressed on the importance of integrity of the members of the bar and their independence from any authority or institution. “The Bar must not be a subordinate of even the bench...”, he stated.
Finally, he voiced the concerns of crores of litigants across the country who are being denied justice on account of the mounting pendency.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi described Justice Lokur as a “pro-citizen and pro-victim judge” for his liberal approach towards the marginalised sections of the society.
He commended Justice Lokur for his significant contributions to the environmental jurisprudence and in according a victim-orientation to the criminal justice regime, mentioning the recently-delivered verdict in Nipun Saxena v. UOI where Justice Lokur has barred the identity of rape victims, even if dead, from being revealed in the public domain.
The Chief Justice remarked that Justice Lokur’s excellence as a judge is beyond the realm of any debate, expressing the hope that his judgments continue to inspire the future judges in terms of their progressiveness.
Chief Justice Gogoi nostalgically recalled how his association with Justice Lokur dates back five decades when the two judges occupied adjacent rooms. “It is like my right arm is being taken way”, stated the Chief Justice emotionally.
In his turn, Attorney General K. K. Venugopal reminisced that he has been at the “receiving end” of Justice Lokur’s legal philosophy on the several occasions when he has engaged in an aggressive discussion with him in his court, and that his respect for the second senior most judge of the Supreme Court has grown manifold after each such instance.
Reiterating the view held by former US President Barack Obama that members of the judiciary must most importantly possess a compassionate heart and the quality of empathy, the top law officer advanced that “Justice Lokur’s heart is in the right place and his integrity is undisputed”.
“Justice Lokur is a benevolent judge, very sensitive to the travails of the common man. The benefits of his judgments trickle down to those in distant, backward regions and in jails”, the AG remarked, declaring that Justice Lokur deserves to be placed at the same pedestal as the much-acclaimed former Justices P. N. Bhagwati, V. Krishnaiyer and O. Chinnappa Reddy.
The AG hailed Justice Lokur for upholding the cause of women, children, tribals, undertrials and prison inmates, the beneficiaries of the MGNREGA scheme and the environment.