'Judge should sit with text of law in context of life'

'Judge should sit with text of law in context of life'

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi speaks during a book release in New Delhi on Monday. PTI photo

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Monday said that most of the people who study court and law are oblivious of the experiences of the ordinary people to get justice from the court and the task of a judge is to sit with the text of the law in the context of life.

He was speaking after releasing a book on former Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal.

"Most of the people who studied court and law are oblivious of the experiences of the ordinary people who undertake the journey to get justice from the court. The judges are called on to decide their fate are witnesses to their fate and grit. Task of a judge, to my mind, therefore, is to sit with text of law in context of life," the CJI said.

Justice Gogoi said he was truly honored to be present at the function to release the book titled 'Beyond the Name Justice Y K Sabharwal, A fulfilling journey' as he was always a great fan of Justice Sabharwal as his "judicial decisions are exemplifiers of his courageous unbending and fearless attitude when it came to upholding the rule of law constitutional reasons, independence of judiciary and the supremacy of the Constitution".

"Undoubtedly Justice Sabharwal has left an endearing legacy in the form of judgements. Throughout his career as a judge he displayed keen intellect coupled with human courtesy. His judicial pronouncements are replete with pervasive legal understanding and comprehensive erudition. He possessed profound legal knowledge, but also deep practical sense of law," Justice Gogoi said.

The CJI and other speakers made mention of his judgement in Coelho case on the ninth schedule of the Constitution which he authored for a nine-judge bench and all the other eight judges were unanimous with his findings and reasoning.

He also referred to one of his 2006 orders where Justice Sabharwal had asked the Delhi High Court to look into a case by NGO Naz Foundation, challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, on merits saying that questions of infringement of fundamental rights cannot be academic questions.

Justice A K Sikri also spoke on the occasion and recalled of his association with late Justice Sabharwal saying that he was "friend of friends".

Senior advocate and former Attorney General for India Mukul Rohatgi, Justice Sabharwal's sons Chetan and Nitin and his elder brother Jagmohan Sabharwal also spoke on the occasion.