Supreme Court's reputation will inevitably suffer if people's conviction in the institution is undermined, Justice Ashok Bhushan said on Friday in a virtual function held to bid him farewell as an apex court judge. Justice Ashok Bhushan, who was a part of benches which delivered several key verdicts ranging from the historic Ayodhya land dispute case to upholding the validity of Aadhaar as also the one which held that Chief Justice of India is the "master of the roster", said that during his 5-year tenure his endeavour was to always safeguard and enhance the independence and reputation of the apex court.
With the retirement of Justice Bhushan on July 4, the apex court, having the sanctioned strength of 34 judges including the CJI, would be left with 26 justices. The reputation of the court is founded on the conviction of the people of this country. If that conviction is ever undermined, the reputation of this Court will inevitably suffer… I am proud to be part of this Court which by its judgments have strengthened democracy and the Rule of Law.
I have had an opportunity of a lifetime, a privilege beyond description, to serve the cause of justice, alongside the finest Judges of this Nation, said Justice Bhushan, the sixth senior-most judge of the apex court. In his farewell address, Justice Bhushan reminded that the institution of judiciary has to prove its usefulness and importance by dint of good work by not only the judges but also lawyers, officers and its staff.
Justice Bhushan said that he viewed the judiciary as Temple of Justice and the judges as those chosen few to discharge the divine function of dispensing justice to the people. Looking back at his term, Justice Bhushan remarked: I can say with conviction and pride that I have been true to my oath to discharge my duties without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I have upheld the Constitution and the laws… Justice shall not be administered by Courts actuated only by mercy, since justice is the recognition and observance of the Constitutional rights of the people.
Lawyers and Judges are flesh and blood, the colour and flavour of justice, he added. On his relationship with the Bar, Justice Bhushan said that it was not one of a judge and an advocate but of a nature where interaction was easy and discharge of duties on either side was pleasant.
Justice Bhushan, who was speaking at the virtual farewell event organised by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), further asserted that rendering justice by granting the required relief is not an act of charity or mercy. Bidding adieu with a heart full of gratitude, Justice Bhushan said, "I know parting is painful. And I am experiencing it right now. But let me tell you, it is a pain laced with pleasure, like a dark cloud with a silver lining. Dark could be my departure from the limelight; but delight is what I get when I think of all of you. That is the silver lining…" Chief Justice N V Ramana, in his address, said that Justice Bhushan was a humanist judge and a fine gentleman who was respected equally by the Bar and the Bench.
Justice Bhushan had obtained a law degree from Allahabad University in 1979 and was enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh on April 6, 1979. Justice Ashok Bhushan was elevated as permanent judge of the Allahabad High Court on April 24, 2001. He was sworn in as a judge of the Kerala High Court on July 10, 2014 and as its chief justice in March 2015.