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With My Background, I Would Not Have Been On The Bench If I was Practicing In Any Other HC: Justice S Ravindra Bhat

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
4 May 2019 7:47 AM GMT
With My Background, I Would Not Have Been On The Bench If I was Practicing In Any Other HC: Justice S Ravindra Bhat
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Justice S. Ravindra Bhat addressed a packed room during his Farewell Reference organised by the Delhi High Court on Friday. He is set to take over as the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court. The Reference was attended by the Additional Solicitor General of India, Maninder Acharya, Delhi Government Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra, Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi, KC Mittal, Delhi High...

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Justice S. Ravindra Bhat addressed a packed room during his Farewell Reference organised by the Delhi High Court on Friday. He is set to take over as the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court.

The Reference was attended by the Additional Solicitor General of India, Maninder Acharya, Delhi Government Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra, Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi, KC Mittal, Delhi High Court Bar Association President Kirti Uppal as well as Justice Bhat's friends and family.

"I have no extraordinary story to tell you of my career," Justice Bhat said as he began his address, chronicling his childhood. He went on to reveal that he decided to pursue law in the second year of his graduation at Hindu College, when he was "swept away with the post Emergency events" and with public affairs catching his attention.

Justice Bhat then spoke about his journey as an undaunted first generation lawyer. He recalled that he started out as a "lawyer for the poor", disclosing that for about 10 years, his practice was exclusively dedicated to litigants who were dismissed workmen fighting for their pay, seniority or regularization.

Elaborating on his experience during this time, he said, "…doing these was a soul satisfying experience; it afforded one a chance to understand how life operates outside of the secure and comfortable cocoons of our existence. These lessons have never been forgotten by me."

He was also moved by the events that shook Delhi in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination, leading to the killing of over 3000 innocent Sikhs. This motivated him to take up voluntary relief work in camps and also join the group of lawyers who helped Sikh riot victims.

As for his experience as a judge, he highlighted the most important lessons that he has learnt so far: "The first thing I realised is that as a human being, it is the hardest task to judge another human… The second lesson is that the demon of prejudice can possess us any time… The other thing is not to be conceited, but be humble."

He also appreciated the cosmopolitan outlook of the Delhi High Court, saying, "…the Delhi High Court is a microcosm of India, truly. It assimilates, welcomes and embraces people from all regions, linguistic, religious and ethnic groups. Perhaps if I had started my practice in some other High Court, my career path would most certainly have been different, with the kind of background I had; it is improbable that I would have been on the bench."

Throughout his address, Justice Bhat thanked his gurus, mentors, family, several relatives, law researchers and staff members, and spoke fondly of the present Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Rajendra Menon, asserting that he is the stability that the High Court needs. 

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