A full court of the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to former Chief Justice P N Bhagwati who passed away at the age of 95 on June 15, 2017
“Court number 2 which justice Bhagwati presided before being elevated as the Chief Justice had for the first time become a workshop for giving law a human face”, the Chief Justice said at the jampacked condolence meet also attended by Attorney General K K Venugopal and SCBA President R S Suri.
“The Gandhian in him turned the supreme court into a court for the voiceless, poor and downtrodden. The portals of the court began to be thrown open to all with preference being to the common man”, said the CJI.
Justice Bhagwati the Father of the human rights jurisprudence converted the rights to livelihood, shelter, health and water into basic fundamental rights enforceable by courts. He expanded the frontiers of Human Rights Jurisprudence and brought large sections of the Indian people within its reach”, said CJI Khehar.AG Venugopal termed Justice Bhagwati as “one of the most brilliant mind to have occupied the bench of the highest court of the land.
“Justice Bhagwati took the constitution from the dusty libraries to the doorsteps of the common man”, said the Attorney General
Venugopal said for Justice Bhagwati, judicial activism was not a bad word. On the other hand, it was an essential weapon in the armory of the court for the purpose of ensuring that social justice was extended to every section of the population.
The door thrown open by Justice Bhagwati has resulted in the future generation of judges improving upon the theory and principles enunciated by him and implemented in judgments, as a result of which the Supreme Court of India was able to go into areas, by interpreting Article 142 of the Constitution, so that judgment after judgment practically bordered on governance of the country”, he said.
Justice Bhagwati has become synonymous with justice and human rights. He has earned immense respect and affection of common people”, said the AG.
SCBA President Suri termed Justice Bhagwati an ideal role model for generation of judges and said he gave a midas touch to the every corner of the constitution .
Justice Bhagwati, was respected not only in the legal fraternity but by people from all walks of life, by the rich and the poor, by the elite and downtrodden, he said.
Justice Bhagwati was appointed as Judge of the Gujarat High Court in 1960 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Gujarat in 1967 at the age of 46.In 1973 he was appointed as the Judge of the Supreme Court. On July 12, 1985 he became the Chief Justice of India and retired on Dec 21, 1986.He has been honoured by many national and international Organisations. He is the recipient of Padma Vibhuhshan Award.Justice Bhagwati’s dedication to the cause of human rights was not limited to India.He chaired the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He organised judicial colloquia in different parts of the world on domestic implementation of international human rights instruments.