“Being poly-centric in nature is one of the biggest strengths of the Supreme Court”: CJI while giving a speech at the Ceremonial bench set up for retiring judges

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On Friday (May 19, 2023), three ceremonial benches were set up in the Supreme Court for three judges, Justice V Ramasubramanian, Justice KM Joseph, and Justice Ajay Rastogi, retiring during the summer vacation. While giving a farewell speech at the ceremonial bench, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that being poly-centric in nature is one of the biggest strengths of the Supreme Court. CJI said, “This is a sign of strength because it reflects our diversity. Today we celebrate three colleagues coming from different parts of the country who brought their own experiences, learnings, and spirituality.” Moreover, CJI expressed his gratitude towards all three retiring judges for their dedication and hard work. He fondly mentioned that he and Justice KM Joseph are friends for over 51 years, “We were friends who knocked on each other’s doors to play football.” Mentioning his sincerity, CJI said “He is humble despite his decades-long familiarity with the law. Humble to the point of being self-effacing. He takes his work very seriously, but not himself very seriously, which is the hallmark of a great judge.” CJI Chandrachud also highlighted that during the lockdown, he did not have to communicate with KM Joseph as they already knew each other's point of view. He said, “I often did not even have to use the intercom to discuss the matter with him because we would know the other person’s view on the matter. The reduced telephone bill during this time is a testament to our friendship that has lasted half a century.” In this context, CJI also stated that “When during the lockdown we penned the order of exclusion of limitation, we forgot one thing, the exclusion of time in the tenure of our colleagues in the Supreme Court. Perhaps we forgot to use our Article 142 power there, which we should have.”

Along with this, CJI in his speech said that Justice V Ramasubramanian’s hard work to become a judge is the best example that dreams come true with pure dedication. He said, “Given the prolific writer that he is, no one would’ve guessed that he was exposed to English literature only in his late teens. Irrespective of our background, Justice Ramasubramanian is a living example that your dreams are for you to pursue.” CJI further added that despite his financial conditions, he was able to pursue his dream with constant hard work. CJI mentioned that “His mother would give him 2 rupees 50 paise every day for travel and food. His life and struggles are a testament that there is no substitute for hard work and perseverance.” Also, CJI lauded Justice Ramasubramanian “for his wit and wordplay. He uses his sense of humor to motivate young lawyers and ease up the tense atmosphere of a courtroom.” Further, CJI appraised Justice Ajay Rastogi for his commitment to the pursuit of justice. He added, “Justice Rastogi understands that in labor and service matters the Supreme Court is dealing with real people and their livelihoods.” Also, CJI mentioned that “While as Supreme Court judges we decide abstract principles of law, these judgments which touch the lives of common citizens are a constant reminder that the lives of Supreme Court judges are inextricably linked with the life of citizens.”