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Events Corner

'Original Idea Of India Has Nothing To Do With Religion Or Identity, But People Who Love The Nation': Justice Narasimha At The 1st Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Memorial Lecture

28 Nov 2022 4:55 AM GMT

"We are a tolerant nation and let us keep it that way." These words were spoken by Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, Judge, Supreme Court of India, at the inauguration of the Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Foundation.

The Foundation was inaugurated on 27 November 2022, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. The occasion was graced by Mr. Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, Judge, Supreme Court of India, as the Chief Guest. Mr. Sidharth Luthra, Senior Advocate, was the Guest of Honour, and Mr. Vinod Kanth, Senior Advocate, Patna High Court was the Special Guest.

Delivering the keynote address for the 1st Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Memorial Lecture, on the subject 'The Idea of India and the Role of the Judiciary Therein,' Justice Narasimha said, "the original idea of India has nothing to do with religion or identity, but the people who love the nation."

Justice Narasimha built upon the tenets of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, poignantly observing that Fraternity is the most important among them. He said, "Only Fraternity can bring about harmony and allegiance to truth and reason. Fraternity must entail a willing and agreeable reduction of the assertion of the self, for it to give way and to bestow identity to the neighbour."

Justice Narasimha concluded that most cases of contention in Courts arise from an assertion of power, property or ego, and said that the Indian Constitution leaves space for the most subtle and sacred; and our identity is embedded in its interpretation, and this must find way in the judgments of the Indian courts.

The Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi Foundation is a non-profit organization established in the memory of Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi. It aims to contribute to the development of the full spectrum of the new legal order in India. The Foundation shall endeavour to promote, foster, and maintain legal thought through the betterment of legal, judicial, and social infrastructure, promotion of discourse on legal and judicial education and reform, judicial impact assessment and judicial conscientiousness. These proposed initiatives will be complemented by bolstering a comprehensive understanding of legal principles in professionals and nurturing the present and future generations of the legal profession. The Foundation aspires contribute to positive efforts that effect a long-lasting difference in the field of Law.

In his opening address at the inauguration, Mr. Vinod Kanth, reminisced about Justice Tripathi's early days in the profession, and eulogized about his competence as a lawyer, and compassion as a judge. He shared anecdotes about Justice Tripathi, as a young and driven lawyer, and praised his knack for always identifying the correct point of law, no matter how challenging the matter.

In his special address, Mr. Sidharth Luthra, Senior Advocate, said that Justice Tripathi believed that lawn ought to be a vehicle for social change. He said, "Though he spent his college years in Delhi, he chose to return to Bihar, as in his heart he wanted to be amongst his own people and work for them. This took him to the Patna High Court where he soon gained a reputation as a bright young star."

Mr. Luthra added, "A first generation lawyer, Justice Tripathi never shied away from difficult briefs and the greater the adversity the more he persevered. To his credit he argued many important cases such as the Fodder Scam Case, the Disproportionate Assets case against the erstwhile Chief Minister of Bihar, the Bihar Bifurcation case to name a few."

Mr. Luthra recalled, "when elevation came, Justice Tripathi wholeheartedly immersed himself in his new role, having left a successful career at the Bar. He was a people's Judge and worked incessantly to deliver quality decisions at the Patna High Court and later as the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. He authored more than 1100 judgments."

Mr. Luthra also reminisced that "Justice Tripathi was focused; caring; and sensitive. We often talked about how the public is a stakeholder in the administration of justice, and how pendency of cases causes hardships to common citizens and litigants of the country. His decided cases gained significance in a career spanning 13 years and in a State, which has the 6th highest population density in the country."

Justice Tripathi was a prominent figure in the legal fraternity, both as a part of the Bar and the Bench. He graduated in Economics with Honours from the prestigious Shri Ram College of Commerce and read law at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. He started his legal practice in 1981 at the High Court of Patna, Bihar. He appeared as a Special Counsel for the CBI and the Auditor and Comptroller General of India, and also represented the Customs and Excise Department, the Enforcement Directorate, and many Public Sector Undertakings in important and contentious cases, which engaged the attention of the nation. He also served as an Additional Advocate General for the State of Bihar.

On October 9th, 2006, Justice Tripathi was sworn in as a judge of the High Court of Patna. He took office as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Chhattisgarh on July 7th, 2018. On March 23rd, 2019, he was appointed as a Judicial Member of Lokpal of India, the National Anti-Corruption Ombudsman, wherein he played a pivotal role during the formative period of the institution with his innovative ideas and inputs. He held this position until his untimely demise on 2 May, 2020.

Additionally, Justice Tripathi was also keenly involved in setting up the Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna. He served as a member of the Academic Council for National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, as well as a special invitee to the Bar Council of India's Education Committee.

The functioning of the Foundation will be 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, O.P. Jindal Global Law School, and Mr. Rahul Narayanan, Senior Corporate Counsel (Litigation), Amazon.

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