Justice Chelameswar shares dias with CJI on last working date

Justice Chelameswar shares dias with CJI on last working date

Justice Jasti Chelameswar. Reuters file photo

Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, who led three other judges to an unprecedented press conference on January 12, shared the dais with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Friday, his last working day.

Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, sat in a bench headed by the CJI, along with Justice D Y Chandrachud.

Friday was the last working day before the apex court goes for summer vacation.

It is custom in the top court that a retiring judge, on his last day, is given the honour of sitting with the CJI in the majestic Court no 1.

Justice Chelameswar, who has been at loggerheads with the CJI over the functioning of the apex court, including regarding the allocation of sensitive cases and on recommendation of judges for appointment to higher judiciary, maintained the tradition of sharing the dias with the CJI.

This ended the speculation in legal circles that he would not be a part of the bench. The speculation gained momentum after he had refused the invite of the Supreme Court Bar Association, which was preparing a farewell function for him on Friday.

A large number of people, besides lawyers and litigants, thronged the court room since morning. There was no mentioning in Court no 1, which is usually flooded with cases and where 11 matters were listed for Saturday.

The bench sat for a brief period and rose for the day at 11:15 am.

Senior advocate Rajiv Dutta, advocates Prashant Bhushan and Gopal Sankaranarayanan gave short farewell speeches to Justice Chelameswar.

Bhushan thanked Justice Chelameswar for "upholding democracy" and said, "On behalf of the bar, I would like to say that it was an honour to have appeared before you. Future generations will remember your contribution to democracy and to the country."

Dutta thanked the judge for "upholding the ideals of the institution", while Sankaranarayanan expressed his gratitude to him for the grace he has shown towards junior members of the Bar and said this would always be remembered and appreciated.

Justice Chelameswar left the courtroom with folded hands.