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The Full Court reference was conducted through video conferencing and live-streaming online given the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Gujarat High Court on Friday held a Full Court Reference to commemorate 60 years of the High Court's existence.
The event was conducted through video conference with limited direct participation given the present COVID-19 lockdown. However, it was live-streamed for all to view.
Among those participating in the video conference were Chief Justice Vikram Nath and other judges of the High Court, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Cabinet Minister, Law and Justice; Pradeep Singh Jadega, State Minister, Law and Justice; Kamal Trivedi, Advocate General, State of Gujarat; Devang Vyas, Assistant Solicitor General for India; Yatin Oza, President of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association and certain other lawyers and Registry officials.
In his address, Chief Justice Nath spoke on the High Court being an institution that stands tall as the guardian of the rights of the people, which is empathetic towards their needs, which exists as a strong estate of democracy and which is organic in nature, changing with the changing times.
The Chief Justice quoted Justice HR Khanna who said that, "The greatest asset and the strongest weapon in the armoury of the Judiciary is the confidence it commands and the faith it inspires in the minds of the people."
Chief Justice Nath added,
He further quoted Dr S Radhakrishnan who said, “If people lose respect for the law and the Courts which administer law, it will be a bad day for us. It is essential for the Country to respect law, for the government of the country to respect law and for the Courts to maintain the sanctity and purity of legal administration and dispensation of justice.”
He went on to add that since the country is battling unprecedented challenges right now, the ceremony originally planned to celebrate the 60 year milestone could not go as planned.
During his address, Chief Justice Nath also mused on the history of the High Court, tracing it back to the segregation of Gujarat from Bombay under the Bombay Reorganisation Act of 1960, which led to the establishment of the High Court's principal seat at Ahmedabad on May 1, 1960.
Speaking on the amicable relation between the Bar and Bench, Chief Justice Nath observed, that it has help the institution overcome the challenges it has faced over time.
Chief Justice Nath also spoke on online Courts and the future of justice, remarking that the High Court would also be embarking on the path of paperless courts while facing the realities of present times.
The monetary contributions made by members of the judiciary and the Bar to fight the present pandemic were also appreciated by the Chief Justice during his speech.
Before concluding his address, Chief Justice Nath advised young lawyers, who are just starting out their journey, to aim for a higher purpose and not only look for financial gain.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi commended the efforts taken to hold the commemoration ceremony via video conferencing to remember the nostalgic moments of the judicial institution.
He observed, "Today is not the day of celebration, but is a date to commemorate a solemn event that took place six decades ago, and to walk down the memory lane through 60 glorious years of our institution."
While recounting the Court's history, AG Trivedi spoke of the contributions of prolific judges and leading lawyers who were instrumental to the growth of the High Court. AG Trivedi went on to detail various milestones witnessed by the High Court including through bold and path-breaking judgments.
Yatin Oza, President of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association traced his journey in the High Court, sharing his experiences with legal stalwarts and speaking on their contributions to the different fields of law. He spoke on camaraderie shared between senior and junior advocates practising in the state.
On the Gujarat High Court, he commented, "The institution has carved a niche for itself … with equal contribution from the Bench and the Bar."
Both Trivedi and Oza spoke on the unity among the lawyers in the state and how they have unanimously worked towards the independence of the judiciary.
Last month, Chief Justice Nath had informed in his letter that a series of functions on May 1-3, 2020 and more during the ensuing calendar year earlier had been planned to celebrate the occasion. However, on account of the prevailing COVID-19 crisis, all the functions were deferred.