The best judge is one who is less known and seen in the media, Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said on Saturday quoting Lord Denning at a book launch ceremony.
The quote was adverted to by the CJI in praise of retired Supreme Court judge, Justice RV Raveendran whose book "Anomalies in Law & Justice: Writings Related to Law & Justice" published by the Eastern Book Company was released by the CJI.
While introducing Justice RV Raveendran in his address the CJI touched upon his qualities and attributes as a judge.
"He never tried, or made an attempt, to project himself as the saviour of the judicial process. He continued to be humble and believed that the office which he held did not exist for himself. He discharged his duties with distinction and commitment to the people."
The event was also attended by former Chief Justices of India, Justices MN Venkatachaliah and RC Lahoti and former Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna besides Justice Raveendran.
The event included a discussion on contemporary problems in justice delivery, the role of diverse institutions in the Parliamentary Democracy, deterioration of moral values, loss of confidence of the common man in the rule of law and judicial conduct in decision making and law not being in sync with justice.
The panel discussion was moderated by Senior Advocate Arvind Datar.
In his speech, the CJI Ramana said that he felt a sense of privilege on being a part of the book release. He referred to Justice Raveendran as a guide and inspiration.
"He is an amalgam of unwavering commitment to rule of law, strong believer in the independence of judiciary, having a deep sense of morality and scholarship par excellence. His tireless work towards reforming our judiciary has been critical in shaping our jurisprudence," the CJI said while reflecting on Justice Raveendran's career.
CJI Ramana also addressed the impact made by Justice Raveendran's judgments.
"I have always been a great admirer of his judgments which are of simple language, intelligible and clear to the common man. Through his judgments, he has set a standard of excellence which demonstrates that law can be a force in society."
On the book itself, the CJI said that Justice Raveendran has undertaken the challenge to explain deficiencies in law and the need to overcome the same so that the common man does not lose faith in the judiciary,
"The book is an attempt to explain to the lay man that the law and the legal system is still evolving and that it requires more critical thinking to resolve issues which have persisted in the system for a long time."
The book identifies existing anomalies in the law, such as old legislations enacted during the British rule that have lost their significance in contemporary India and there are many such examples which need to be considered by both a vigilant Bar and the Bench, CJI added.
He said that he was planning to read the complete book at a later point in time but could not put it down once he started reading it.
"The narration is captivating," he said.
Nearing the conclusion of his address Chief Justice Ramana urged Justice Raveendran to write more on diverse topics of his expertise and noted that he is one of the legends of the Supreme Court who has increased the prestige of the Indian justice system.
"Even after concluding his service as a judge of the highest court, he continues to be passionate of serving the public cause. This one volume, speaks volumes about his life-long efforts for working towards public interest."
The CJI finally shared a poignant message sent to him by Justice Raveendran at the time of his appointment as CJI.
"Dear Justice Ramana,
Congrats, best wishes and blessings. These are difficult days. Challenging days. Testing days. Being a Chief Justice requires courage to act, commitment to the cause of justice, concern for the common man, tact to deal with and obtain the cooperation of the brother judges in addition to the qualities expected of a judge.
You possess all of them in abundance. Let the almighty lead you to a purposeful, meaningful and successful tenure."