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Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra yesterday paid his tribute to Justice VR Krishna Iyer at the Justice Krishna Iyer Memorial Lecture, 2018. Attorney General KK Venugopal delivered the main lecture on “Role of Judiciary in Protecting Human Rights of the Poor and Marginalized”.
Reminiscing about Justice Krishna Iyer, CJI Misra in his Presidential address said that he saw Justice Krishna Iyer for the first time at an event hosted by the Orissa High Court Bar Association. Thereafter, he saw Justice Iyer in Kerala while delivering a speech and was inspired by the zeal and enthusiasm with which Justice Iyer spoke.
“Possibly he is a judge who believed in the human and compassionate feeling of Indian Constitution and that energised him to speak like that”
Speaking about the contribution of Justice Krishna Iyer to Indian Jurisprudence, CJI Misra said that the reliefs granted by Justice Krishna Iyer were not based on whims and fancies but relied on institutional and Constitutional foundation.
“He never believed in any kind of abstraction and that is why he helped in building jurisprudence that would be beneficial for posterity… Justice Krishna Iyer built the edifice for access to justice”, CJI Misra said.
CJI Misra, who is himself known for writing some of the longest sentences and judgments, noted that people often wondered why VR Krishna Iyer J. wrote long, verbose judgments.
Justice Iyer was laying down the foundation of jurisprudence in those judgments, said Justice Misra. Referring to the Ratlam Municipality case that Justice Krishna Iyer decided, CJI Misra said,
“Look at the Ratlam judgment. It’s a small place, it was a small issue. But look at the jurisprudence in that judgment. It is laid down for people like us to build on the foundation and infrastructure.”
Misra J. also offered a tip to those who say that Justice Krishna Iyer’s long judgments are hard to fathom.
“When you look back, you have to look at the ideas and concepts (in the judgment). If you fall in love with the idea, you will understand the judgment, no need to refer to a dictionary. Try to understand the man, the judge, the philosophy behind the judgment, you’ll understand it.”
Besides Justice Misra, the lecture was attended by Justice DY Chandrachud, and jurists Soli Sorabjee and Fali Nariman. Former Supreme Court Judge Justice KS Panicker Radhakrishnan delivered the welcome address.