Terming the Delhi High Court as his “launching pad” and his short tenure as chief justice a training period, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Thursday said he had arrived in the national capital with many “apprehensions”, But he never had to face any kind of work-related. Tension here.
At a function organised by the Delhi High Court Bar Association to bid him farewell a day before he retired as the country’s senior-most judge, Justice Ramana said that when he was transferred from Andhra Pradesh, he was told that he was going in one. “Very tough state” where he – as a person with “agricultural background” – must be very careful with his every word, as the people of Delhi are very cultured, knowledgeable and “too sorry to say, aggressive”.
“I often used to say that if someone asks what is the best time in your judge’s life, I proudly say that this month [at Delhi HC] is the best time of my life. Because I… Was about 13 years old as a judge in the Andhra Pradesh High Court and I faced a lot of tense moments, stress and other situations. Once I came here, surprisingly not even a day…Working here I never had any occasion for any kind of controversy or tense incident or moment,” the CJI said.
Justice Ramana, who retired on August 26, also said that he never faced any strike or trouble from the lawyer community. “It is a great achievement because he warned me earlier that if you are going to Delhi, you should prepare for dharna and strike; that never happened,” he said.
Stating that the Delhi High Court has “strange features and characteristics”, Justice Ramana said the volume of litigation and variety of issues cannot be compared with any other High Court in the country.
Before being elevated to the top court, the outgoing CJI was the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court between September 2, 2013, and February 17, 2014.
“Administration of justice is a challenge for everyone, especially the judges who are going to become the Chief Justice. I learned about the administration of the Registry, I learned about the listing of cases, the preparation of the roster, the allotment of cases, and everything, so it helped me a lot to work as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It was the launching pad or training period for me to become a successful Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India,” he said.
The CJI also thanked the Delhi HC Bar Association for supporting him in 2020. “I remember the day of the challenge, the day of the turmoil and the incident that happened two years ago. [It] was an interesting time for me. Every member of the bar, especially Delhi, stood by me. They expressed solidarity by being united and they passed a resolution and supported me. You are my true love and I am extremely happy to have so much strength and support from you,” he said.
The Bar Association in a resolution in October 2020 had condemned the allegations against CJI Ramana by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. Jagan, in a letter to the then Chief Justice of India S A Bodbe on 6 October, alleged that Justice Ramana was “influencing the meetings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court, including the roster of some honourable judges”.
In concluding his speech, Justice Ramana said that, as Chief Justice, he particularly raised the issues of judicial infrastructure and the appointment of judges. “Thanks to the support extended by my brother and sister judges in the Supreme Court and the collegium, we have successfully appointed around 224 judges in the high courts,” he said, adding that he hopes the government clears the pending names as well.