Mukherjee lauds former CJI Justice Bhagwati
Praising former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice P N Bhagwati, President Pranab Mukherjee has said the former was responsible for transformation of the Indian judiciary into a willing defender of the weak.
Receiving the first copy of Justice Bhagwati's memoirs My Tryst with Justice here from Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, Mukherjee said: "Justice Bhagwati is a judicial statesman and in a true sense, a judge of and for the people of India. He was responsible for transformation of the Indian judiciary into a willing defender of the weak."
Recounting a "remarkable" 26-year journey that the former CJI has had in the Gujarat High Court and in the Supreme Court, Mukherjee said: "His tenure was marked by continuous efforts to improve the justice delivery system and he spoke through numerous judgments and pronouncements, many of whom are landmark in nature."
"Justice Bhagwati's judgments contributed to making justice more accessible by the poor.
He converted the courtroom into a site of people's struggle in humanizing law. Justice Bhagwati epitomizes how a judge can be instrumental in espousing the cause of justice to the millions of deprived Indians who are standing in the waiting room of history to become the subjects of justice," he added.
Calling him a pioneer of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India, promoter of the right to legal aid and emissary of Lok Adalats, Mukherjee said: "Justice Bhagwati also worked to create a legal aid infrastructure that gave meaning to Article 39A of the Constitution. He remained Chairman of the Legal Aid Organization while he was CJI. His efforts in the direction of free legal assistance laid the foundation for the subsequent enactment of the Legal Services Authorities Act in 1987, after his retirement."
"The juridical innovations that Justice Bhagwati undertook were a departure from orthodox Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence. However they reflected the true spirit of our Constitution and turned the Indian Judiciary into a powerful instrument of socio-economic justice for the underprivileged. This judicial creativity also became a pioneering innovation in global jurisprudence with lasting relevance to all developing countries with an independent judiciary," he added.
Mukherjee further said the book would be a guiding light and an inspiration for not just law students, legal practitioners and judges but also every common person concerned about social justice in our country.
"I am certain this book titled, "My Tryst with Justice", will be a guiding light and an inspiration for not just law students, legal practitioners and judges but also for common readers concerned about social justice in our country. This book will be a prized possession for every Indian who wants to make a difference to the world and who aspires for a world more just," he added.