Day ahead of retirement, CJI recalls Delhi HC stint: Launching pad, never faced any stressful event

Terming the Delhi High Court as his “launching pad” and his short stint as its Chief Justice a training period, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana Thursday said he had arrived in the national capital with several “apprehensions” but never faced any work-related stress here.

At a function organised by Delhi High Court Bar Association to bid farewell to him, a day ahead of his superannuation as the country’s senior-most judge, Justice Ramana said when he was transferred from Andhra Pradesh, he was told that he was going to a “very hard state” where he — as someone with “agriculture background” — should be very careful with every word he says, as the people in Delhi are very cultured, knowledgeable and “very sorry to say, aggressive”.

“I used to say frequently that if somebody asks which is the best period in your judge’s life, I proudly say these months [at Delhi HC] are the best period in my life. Because I was… almost 13 years as judge in Andhra Pradesh High Court and I faced a lot of tension moments, stress and other situations. Once I came here, surprisingly not even a single day… I never had any occasion for altercation or any sort of a stressful event or moment while working here,” said the CJI.

Justice Ramana, who retires on August 26, also said that he never faced any strike or trouble from the lawyer community. “This is a big achievement because they first warned me that if you’re going to Delhi, you must prepare for dharnas and strikes; that never happened,” he said.

Stating that Delhi High Court has “peculiar features and specialities,” Justice Ramana said the quantum of litigation and variety of issues it deals with cannot be compared with any other high court in the country.

Prior to his elevation to the apex court, the outgoing CJI was Chief Justice at Delhi High Court between September 2, 2013 and February 17, 2014.

“Administration of justice is a challenge for everyone, particularly judges who are going to become chief justice. I learnt about the administration of the registry, I learnt the listing of matters, preparing rosters, allotment of cases, everything, so it helped me a lot working as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This [was] the launching pad or training period for me to be a successful Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India,” he said.

The CJI also thanked the Delhi HC Bar Association for supporting him in 2020. “I remember the days of the challenge, the days of turmoil and the instance which [took] place two years back. [It was] an interesting time for me. Every member of the bar, particularly Delhi, stood by me. They unitedly expressed solidarity and they passed a resolution and supported me. You are my real wishers and I am extremely happy about having such strength and support from you.” he said.

The Bar Association in October 2020 in a resolution had condemned the allegations by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy against CJI Ramana. Jagan, in an October 6 letter to then Chief Justice of India S A Bodbe, had alleged that Justice Ramana “has been influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of few Honourable Judges”.

While concluding his speech, Justice Ramana said that, as the CJI, he particularly took up the issues of judicial infrastructure and appointment of judges. “Thanks to the support given by my brother and sister judges in the Supreme Court and Collegium, we successfully appointed almost 224 judges in High Courts,” he said, adding that he hopes the government clears the pending names as well.

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