I Was Advised To Go With The System & Not Invite Criticism But I Felt There Is A Larger Duty Towards This Country: Chelameswar.J On Judges Press Conference

I Was Advised To Go With The System & Not Invite Criticism But I Felt There Is A Larger Duty Towards This Country: Chelameswar.J On Judges Press Conference

Justice Chelameswar on his favourite Judgments- " NJAC dissent is my personal favourite" and added,  “Right to Privacy case is also close to my heart” he said.

Justice Chelameswar may have refused a formal farewell on behalf of the Supreme Court Bar Association, but there was no stopping well-wishers and lawyers from meeting him personally at his official residence in Central Delhi.

Justice Chelameswar was pleased to host us, a group of lawyers and law-students at his residence this morning, wherein he shared his vivid experiences from the Bar and the Bench. Although the last few months of his career have been tumultuous, he was at ease and calm today.

About the press-conference, he said he did what he thought was right. “We may be right or wrong; that is for history to decide although I am fully conscious of the criticisms I received. I was advised to go with the system and not invite criticism but I felt there is a larger duty towards this country”, said Justice Chelameswar while explaining how he decided along with his brother judges to hold the press conference.

While speaking informally with us, he traversed through his judgments over the years to the controversial press conference held earlier this year, that later escalated into a judicial and political storm.

Few lawyers pointed out in jest that even though Justice Chelameswar had dismissed their petitions, they have gathered to felicitate him, in solidarity with his fight for transparency within judiciary. To this, Justice Chelameswar quipped by saying that he was indeed unpredictable sometimes.

During the interaction, Justice Chelameswar was requested to identify some of his judgments that gave him personal satisfaction. Without a moment's delay, he said with a smile: " NJAC dissent is my personal favourite" and added,  “Right to Privacy case is also close to my heart”. His joyful content at his contribution to one of the most important judgments of the Supreme Court that conclusively held that an individual’s right to privacy is indeed a fundamental right, was indeed evident.

He also fondly recollected his judgment relating to the Companies Act. “There is a judgment that I have written on Companies Act. It is not a profound one but it indeed laid down some law. That judgment required a lot of attention because of its mere technicality”, said Justice Chelameswar.

He went on to elaborate on the personal criticism leveled against him for his judgments. “Indira Jaising has criticized me brutally for my decision in Rajbala. That is her right. I may be right or wrong; but no one is above criticism”.

About the press-conference, he said he did what he thought was right. “We may be right or wrong; that is for history to decide although I am fully conscious of the criticisms I received. I was advised to go with the system and not invite criticism but I felt there is a larger duty towards this country”, said Justice Chelameswar while explaining how he decided along with his brother judges to hold the press conference.



After treating us to tea and cookies, Justice Chelameswar gave us a warm send-off by assuring that he will indeed be visiting Delhi. He also advised all of us to be bold and to question  injustice. “Those who question may be in minority. They may also be abused. But you don’t have to bother,  just carry it forward”, said Justice Chelameswar. While we proceeded towards the gate, we observed his friends continuing to flock his residence with flowers and bouquets.

Justice Chelameswar, who is credited with democratizing the functioning of Supreme Court, will surely be missed once the Supreme Court reopens post summer vacations in July.