Late Justice J S Verma’s family declines Padma Bhushan award

Late Justice J S Verma’s family declines Padma Bhushan award

In a letter addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee, late Justice J S Verma's wife Pushpa Verma expressed that she and her family declines to accept the Padma Bhushan award bestowed on him by the government posthumously as he was never a man to yearn or lobby for any acclaim, reward or favor.

The letter dated January 29 read that for late Justice Verma it was always his country, which was first and foremost, and personal profit or gain always took a backseat in his life. She stated that he will always be reminisced as one of India's most pre-eminent jurists and with a legacy of improving fundamental injustice through the forging of globally acclaimed new legal tools. In her letter, it was also mentioned that no official communication about the award was provided to the family and it was only through media reports that they got to know about the Padma Vibhushan being awarded to him.

According to Shubra Verma, daughter of Justice Verma, early this month some officials from the home ministry had visited Verma's hometown Satna in Madhya Pradesh and enquired about him.  It was on her asking the reason for such an enquiry that she was told that her father's name has been nominated for Padma Bhushan. On 18th January 2014, Live law  had reported that Late Justice Verma is being considered for Padma Bhushan awards posthumously.

According to Live law report, Justice Jagdish Sharan Verma the 27th Chief Justice of India, was a judge whose actions had always been commensurate with his position. In the current maze of judicial misconduct, he was one of the few men who lived and died with a notably good reputation. The man gave the Indian legal landscape a plethora of judgments, guidelines and laws, like the Vishaka Judgment the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, his rather staunch support to the Right to Information Act, 2005, outlining the foundation of Juvenile Justice Act in India, thereby changing the face of Indian legal landscape for better.

Last year December 9, 2013 saw the Indian legal canvass witnessing its first law to deal with sexual harassment at workplace. The law though is not gender neutral and suffers from problems of practical implementation, yet it is credited with making sexual harassment an offence under section 354A of the Indian penal code and section 2(o) of the sexual harassment at Workplace Act. J S Verma headed the committee responsible for amending India’s criminal laws. The new Criminal Law amendment Act that is in place takes after the suggestions of the 603-page report given by this committee. Indian Penal Code was amended to include new offences like disrobing, stalking and voyeurism. Though the Verma Report was against death penalty and made marital rape an offence, the law falls behind on those suggestions. Justice Verma also laid the foundation of Juvenile Justice Act. Last year, after the December 16 Delhi Gang Rape verdict, there was a huge uproar to amend the Juvenile Justice Act in order to change the age of juveniles etc. It’s a long road ahead from here and someone needs to step into Justice Verma’s shoes of judicial probity and legal acumen to address the same.