This evening, at Supreme Court, a large gathering of advocates and Judges flocked to attend the outgoing CJI TS Thakur’s farewell. The gathering swelled to the brim and many advocates were spotted standing in long-winding queues outside the pandal where the farewell took place.
In his speech, the outgoing CJI TS Thakur said, “In the last one year, I have attended 27 farewell gatherings in this same place but never have I seen a gathering of this side. I mentioned this to Khehar J. just now, saying, ‘Look how many people have gathered to welcome you as the next CJI’ and he immediately replied, ‘No, no, this is for you – they are celebrating the exit of a terrible Chief Justice.”
There was much laughter across the gathering over this witty statement.
The outgoing CJI TS Thakur also shared his early struggles as a lawyer, stating, “I was 20 years when I started my career and knew nothing about any brief when I joined my father’s chambers at J&K High Court. I used to work past midnight and that became a habit – till I got married and my wife reminded me that it is past midnight and she doesn’t eat till I am home! At 42 years, I was elevated to the Bench and it has been a blessed journey so far. When I look back, I realize that the most interesting and challenging times I had was when I struggled as a lawyer. Every morning used to be a challenge, I miss those days.”
Then as he spoke, his voice began to brim with emotion and he almost broke down, as he said the following words, “One amendment I would like is this – let retiring Supreme Court Judges be able to practice again – at heart, we are lawyers.”
CJI TS Thakur continued, “This race for becoming a Judge, the race for becoming a Senior Advocate – I don’t understand it. These distinctions should come uninvited. Why should a lawyer want to become a judge if he is not saturated with his work? Remember, shifting from a High Court to Supreme Court is a very tough decision in an advocate’s career. Starting a career in Delhi where you have eminent personalities like Fali S Nariman and Sundaram is very difficult and challenging for young advocates.”
While concluding, CJI TS Thakur said, “I may be retiring but I will keep praying for the judiciary to remain fearless, for its prestige, from outside the sanctum sanctorum of the Supreme Court. I will continue to be an observer and be ready to be a contributor to the nation that has made me what I am today.”