Speaking at his farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Justice Ramana said: “In the last 75 years, our jurisprudence has evolved considerably. Our judiciary is not defined by a single order or decision. Yes, at times, it fell short of people’s expectations. But most of the times, it has championed the cause of the people.”
He added it was widely predicted that with A.K. Gopalan, the due process of law was history, but, this court, in the case of Maneka Gandhi restored what was taken away earlier.
Similarly, ADM Jabalpur was seen as a death knell on personal liberty. Subsequently, the error stood rectified by a 9-Judges Bench in K.S. Puttaswamy, he said.
The Chief Justice added: “This institution never hesitated to remedy itself. Your hope upon the institution cannot be so weak that it is shattered with one perceived unfair judgment. When it comes to an individual judge, the expectations are very high. In the game of cricket, the player is expected to hit every ball for a sixa…”
He said “my collegium judges and consulting judges, in the last 16 months, we could appoint 11 judges to the apex court and out of the 255 recommended for the various high courts, 224 judges are already appointed”.
“This amounts to nearly 20 per cent of the total sanctioned strength of the high courts. Due to our concerted efforts, we could make considerable progress in appointing more women judges and promoting social diversity on the bench. We got 15 new chief justices for various high courts during the same period. This process is a reflection of the coherence and determination of the judges to strengthen our institution, to further the goal of justice,” he said.
Justice Ramana said the issues faced by the judiciary cannot be looked at in isolation and the judiciary is independent when it comes to adjudication of cases, but with respect to finances or appointments it is still dependent on the government.
“To coordinate and to get the cooperation from the government, interaction is inevitable. But interaction does not mean influence. I hope this dialogue between the judiciary and the public will continue,” he added.
Justice Ramana said: “I witnessed the resilience of human existence, the power of human struggles, dignity in poverty and most importantly unshakable hope and faith. Through these ordinary everyday experiences, I developed the extraordinary passion of serving the people.”