Judges canít change world, must do duty for justice: CJI at farewell
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"I have done my duty and I have done no more." With these words of English novelist Henry Fielding, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on Friday bid farewell to his office.
It was an emotional speech by the CJI, known to have not missed office even for a day in his 20 years as a judge ó not even when he fractured his leg. He had a nine-year stint in the Supreme Court, and more than two years as the CJI.
"We cannot change the world as judges," Justice Kapadia said in his advice to fellow judges, in the farewell address on the Supreme Court lawns. "If you have done your duty towards dispensation of justice in accordance with the Constitution, you have served the country."
Noting that Justice Kapadia had listed "integrity" as his only asset in a note to former supreme court judge V R Krishna Iyer, his successor and CJI-designate Justice Altamas Kabir said: "He also has immense wisdom and a kind of self-discipline that was not liked by many but he stood by what he decided and thought was correct."
As Justice Kabir described him as a "replica of Abraham Lincoln", Justice Kapadia recalled how his father, an electrician who had been born in an orphanage, had taught him that the best thing one could achieve was do their duty. He started as a Class IV employee, going to college in the morning without anything to eat and working late hours, the CJI said, recalling that his fortune changed when his employer's secretary fell sick and he ended up giving a brief to a lawyer.
Addressing a gathering comprising fellow judges, senior law officers, including Attorney General G E Vahanvati, Supreme Court Bar Association members and several young lawyers, the CJI said that even as he started getting ancillary legal works, he would visit the Bombay High Court to listen to senior counsel like Fali S Nariman and Soli Sorabji argue.
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