THE Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on November 21 organized a felicitation ceremony in the honour of the 47th Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde.
Speaking at the felicitation ceremony, CJI Bobde complimented the relationship of bar and bench and said that the strength of any institution depends on its foundation and undoubtedly the strength of this institution is the bar. He said:
“The relationship between the Bar and the Bench is special given that by all accounts the Bar is the mother of the bench. After all most judges commence their careers at the bar and then join the judiciary. All of us, I like to think, are co-parceners of an undivided family. Anything detrimental to one of the coparceners naturally affects the others coparcenary.
But, the more important reason for the special bond between the bar and bench is the values and beliefs that unite the two. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the credibility of the bar is maintained. And it will be maintained only if members of the bar continue to act freely, diligently, and fearlessly in promoting the legitimate interests of their clients, without any fear or inhibition”.
He further added that:
“…the judiciary has been able to do so only because of the strength and support it has always derived and received from a strong, committed and resilient bar. It is the bar working together with the bench which has enabled this glorious institution to be the most willing to stand up for the values of tolerance, liberty and dignity”.
Speaking on the judicial independence, CJI Bobde said that it was not just the independence of Bench that was important, the independence of Bar was equally important. He urged the members of both the bar and bench to maintain its independence and integrity and said:
“If the bar loses its integrity, it would have an enormous repercussion on the workings of the judiciary. … It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the credibility of the bar is maintained. And it will be maintained only if members of the bar continue to act freely, diligently, and fearlessly in promoting the legitimate interests of their clients, without any fear or inhibition. A crucial aspect of this independence also involves ensuring people’s access to independent and affordable advocacy, advice and assistance from lawyers”.
Focusing on the mental health of the lawyers, CJI Bobde said the time is ripe to focus on the mental wellness of legal practitioners. He said:
“Legal practitioners are no exception as they continuously face enormous pressure on the professional front. Such a demanding lifestyle can have grave consequences on the health of an individual. I believe, we must no longer live in the hubris that only physical well-being is important. We all can agree that the mental well-being of members of both the Bar and the Bench is equally, if not more important. … Efforts in this direction must attempt both de-stigmatisation of this idea and making available professional help, where necessary”.
CJI Bobde also noted the suggestion given by Attorney General for India K K Venugopal for fixing the tenure of the Chief Justice of India. Attorney-General while speaking at the ceremony suggested that there should be a fixed three-year tenure for the office of the Chief Justice of India. He contended that:
“… there should be fixed tenure of at least three years for the CJI and the age of retirement of the Judges should be raised. By the time CJI decides anything, begins to make changes and reforms, it is his time to retire and many are left with a short tenure.”
CJI Bobde informed that the Committee of Supreme Court judges with Justice L Nageswar Rao would look into the issues raised by AG.
The felicitation ceremony was attended by sitting and many retied judges, senior advocates, and office bearers of the SCBA and members of the legal fraternity.
Read the text of CJI S A Bobde’s speech: