Much has been written and spoken about Justice Rohinton Nariman, the "lion" of the Supreme Court who recently demitted office..Justice Nariman, the son of eminent jurist and Senior Counsel Fali S Nariman, had a seven-year tenure as a Supreme Court judge. Known widely as a taskmaster with an elephantine memory, he passed a number of significant judgments that changed the face of jurisprudence in India..Bar & Bench Special Correspondent Debayan Roy spoke to judges who worked closely with Justice Nariman and lawyers who appeared frequently before him to understand their perception of the retired judge and the impact of his seven-year-long tenure at the Bench. .Senior Advocate Arvind Datar.We have certainly lost one of our greatest judges. He gave up a lucrative practice to become a judge in 2014. In a relatively short span of 7 years, he rendered numerous landmark verdicts in various branches of law..It has been rightly pointed out that the entire jurisprudence of the new insolvency and bankruptcy laws was evolved by him almost single-handedly. Apart from his rulings in important constitutional cases like Shreya Singhal and Shayara Bano, he also delivered landmark rulings in striking down the National Tax Tribunal Act in 2014..Not many people know that his concurring decision decisively held that the National Tax Tribunal was unconstitutional. But for his clear verdict, the entire tax jurisdiction in direct and indirect taxes would have been lost to tribunals. This would have been disastrous for the entire country, as almost every tribunal has failed to live up to any expectation..The other memorable quality of Justice Nariman was the prompt manner in which he delivered judgments, even in the most complex cases. Judgment was delivered in less than two weeks after arguments concluded. What was astonishing was these judgments discussed all the points raised and in several instances, he came up with his own research and referred to earlier important judgments that were missed by both sides.He was in a class of his own and it is unlikely that we will see the likes of him in the near future. His industry, hard work and dedication is worth emulating by younger lawyers and even by newly appointed judges..Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Deepak Gupta.Much has been said about the sheer brilliance, wide knowledge and the elephantine memory that Justice Rohinton has. He is a genius no doubt, but for me, he is much more than that. He is also a caring friend and a compassionate human being. Sanaya and Rohinton’s home is always open for friends and Punam and I have spent joyful evenings with them enjoying their scintillating company and lavish hospitality both in Delhi and Shimla. I enjoyed long walks with him and listened with amazement to him talk on any subject of the day while trying to keep pace with him, as he walks very fast..In my view Justice Rohinton Nariman is the finest Chief Justice, India never had.Justice Deepak Gupta.He is not modest and for good reason. I have not met a more knowledgeable person than him. Even more important than his brilliance is in unimpeachable integrity and his unbending spine. He is a man of principles and will battle with all his might to stick by them. I wish he had a much longer tenure. In my view, Justice Rohinton Nariman is the finest Chief Justice India never had..Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi.A slayer of precedents, Justice Nariman was a live wire judge who broke the mould which conventional wisdom had made to shape judges. Energetic and unpredictable, Justice Nariman could hustle the best of lawyers appearing in his court. He proved that law does not necessarily reside in philosophical inquiries and may have no use outside its application..Not hampered by procedure, the sequence of taking up matters by Jistice Nariman was often different from the causelist and not only was the unexpected expected, but the best argument also was not always good enough. The course of hearing often threw up the startling realisation of seeing the unforeseen and looking at the unlooked..Justice Nariman’s earnest pursuit of law, however, was never without its funny moments. One instance hilariously exemplifies both his impatience for hesitation and his swift decision making. A senior colleague from the Bar who is usually slow off the mark appeared in an early matter on a miscellaneous day before Justice Nariman.While the counsel was still rising to address the Court, Justice Nariman in his usually brisk manner asked him “how much is the delay” to which my friend looking down in a rather forlorn manner hummed “hmmm”. Responding to this unarticulated sound Justice Nariman said “delay condoned!” By his next question, Justice Nariman enquired “what do you say of the matter?” To which the counsel with the same listlessness repeated the same sound. Justice Nariman said, “Doesn’t matter...Notice!” This must be one of the rare arguments rendered as a musical verse or chant which was lost to all present in Court but not to Justice Nariman!.Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta.My reminiscences about Justice Nariman, both as a counsel and as a judge, are vivid and fond. Apart from being an intellectual giant in the field of not just law but also in comparative religion, history, western classical music and host of other subjects, there are certain traits of Rohinton Nariman the man, which I remember and which are striking..He remained himself throughout and chose to live life by his own rules, unapologetically. He never allowed others to mould or influence his actions or reactions. He never faked or feigned his actions or reactions, his feelings or views. If he praised someone, it was as genuine and authentic, as was his anger at someone. Neither of his emotions were fake, need-based or strategic. I found this to be an extraordinary and rare human quality..Though I was not in agreement with some of the views expressed by him in a few judgments, his grace and love was never affected thereby. For me, he remains a brilliant judge, a devout Parsi, a deeply patriotic citizen, a scholar par excellence, a fine human and a dependable friend..Of course, my most fond memories are having few lunches with him on Monday-Friday, when he was at the Bar, in “Pind-Baluchi” at Pandara Road, one of his favourites..Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.The feeling by and large of the younger Bar is certainly that when we entered the profession, he was already a God and a shining star.When he took judgeship, he became accessible to all. We are glad that we practiced law in the Justice Nariman era. This era will be named after him..When I became an ASG, one morning I got a call from Narayan ji (his secretary) saying that Sir wanted to speak to me. Suddenly getting a call from Justice Nariman made me skip a heartbeat. He congratulated me and he reminded me that even as a law officer my first duty is always to the court, and that I should always be fair to the court. This one line was so much for a law officer to always be conscious and mindful of..Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta.When Justice Rohinton Nariman was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court, many wondered whether, given his sheer brilliance, he would be impatient and impervious. At the end of his tenure of over 7 years, Justice Nariman has set the bar so high that most of us will find it difficult to emulate him.He was meticulous in reading files, open to persuasion while hearing counsel, ingenious in interpretation of law and prolific in writing judgments. But beyond all this, he remained ruthlessly committed to his oath. He was absolutely fearless. And had no favourites whatsoever..It is when judges of the mettle of Justice Nariman retire that the retirement age of 65 years feels both absurd and unfortunate.Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta.He brought justice in the lives of all he touched. At a time when many may feel the pressure to wilt, Justice Nariman inspired the confidence in all that justice will be done!Before him, the head was held high, seeing the independence of the judiciary at work. Yet, the head would bend, out of deep respect and reverence. It is when judges of the mettle of Justice Nariman retire that the retirement age of 65 years feels both absurd and unfortunate..Former Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Govind Mathur.With the retirement of Justice Nariman, we are certainly losing a great judge and a great defender of Constitutional values and traditions.As a judge of the High Court, I always admired not only his judgments but the way he protected and promoted the larger interests of the Indian Judiciary, his practical wisdom, clarity of thought and his courage to do what he believed was right..Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan Lokur.Rohinton and I met for the first time in 1977 at an ice cream parlour in Colaba. He impressed me then and continues to do so even today. Having known him since then and watched his career graph from a quiet distance, I can safely say that he deserves every bit of the accolades showered on him, and some more.All of us know that he is outstandingly brilliant and a wonderful human being. His knowledge of the law (and a range of other subjects) is legion. On his retirement, the judiciary is losing a one-of-a-kind judge and is much the poorer for it..We came closer after he became Supreme Court judge, but unfortunately, I never had the privilege of sitting with him. We were ‘off court’ buddies in that sense and regularly had lunch, where he introduced me, among other things, to western classical music. His knowledge of music (and history) is amazing and during a study tour to Germany, he stumped the connoisseurs of music that we had occasion to interact with.Rohinton is warm, has a large heart and is a sensitive human being. I hope his wisdom, energy and integrity are taken advantage of by society and the country. It can only be to our advantage and benefit..Standing Counsel for Gauhati High Court and Advocate-on-Record, Sneha Kalita.Though Justice Nariman has a unique temperament, he is very generous and would encourage young lawyers to argue before him and often ask them to do more research. At the Bench, he was more like a teacher towards young lawyers..Among the many historic judgments he has delivered in a short span of 7 years of his tenure, I personally, as a counsel appearing for the Gauhati High Court, witnessed the most sensitive matter - the National Register of Citizens (NRC) case. In that matter, Justice Nariman along with Justice Gogoi (former CJI) with strong determination and outstanding judicial interpretation passed several important directions and orders. Justice Nariman also delivered one of the most liberal judgments in the Sabarimala case, permitting women of all ages to enter the shrine temple in Kerala..Advocate-on-Record Mohit Paul.The Indian judicial system will fondly remember their stalwart, Justice Rohinton Nariman. On a personal level, I have fond memories of briefing him along with my chamber senior (Anip Sachthey) and thereafter appearing before him. It was a proud moment when he was elevated from the Bar to the Bench.His knowledge in every aspect of law was exceptional. He is one of the sharpest minds of our country and one could barely keep up with how fast he was thinking. When the lawyers would mention a matter before him, he would always inquire what the item number was, since would have already read all his matters much in advance.He had meticulous qualities as a Senior Advocate, which he took with him to the Bench as he was so thorough with all his matters by reading each and every page. He would make his own notes on the index of the file as a Senior Advocate.He was one of the best judges to argue before, as he would always encourage young lawyers to argue and would always be amenable to hearing a legal point. In case he missed the same, he would acknowledge it and also praise the lawyer..Advocate-on-Record Srishti Agnihotri.My first memory of Justice Rohinton Nariman is from his days as a Senior Advocate. As a law clerk, I attended a hearing in an arbitration matter that he was arguing. I still remember being left spell-bound by his arguments..In his courtroom the merits of one’s arguments always mattered more than age or seniority.Advocate-on-Record Srishti Agnihotri.In his courtroom, the merits of one’s arguments always mattered more than age or seniority. In addition to being a sharp judge, he was also a very compassionate judge and always went the extra mile to ensure access to justice for the most marginalized. His compassion was evident in a case pertaining to rescued bonded labourers, who got a very patient hearing from him.He was so thoroughly prepared with briefs that no obfuscation could ever work with him. In his courtroom, a lawyer had to go prepared, come straight to the point, and complacency of any kind would not be tolerated at all..Read what Attorney General KK Venugopal said about Justice Nariman here.