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Delhi magistrate, 32, loses battle to Covid; held virtual hearing day after being discharged

Lawyers who knew Kamran Khan said that he, unlike most young metropolitan magistrates, used to take quick decisions, sometimes granting bails in criminal cases the very day they came up in court.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: April 28, 2021 7:46:48 am
Kamran KhanMetropolitan Magistrate Kamran Khan (file photo)

HE WAS NOT just a “majestic Magistrate”. A 6-feet avid cricketer, jovial and intelligent, Kamran Khan, all of 32, was bold, took quick decisions, and held court with a gentle heart.

Metropolitan Magistrate Kamran Khan wouldn’t listen to lawyers at the Dwarka district court who pleaded with him to rest a day after he was discharged on April 15, having been hospitalised for Covid-19. He put his foot down, and held court via a virtual link. During the hearing, he granted bail to a man accused in an Arms Act case.

This would be Khan’s last hearing as a Metropolitan Magistrate — his condition worsened soon after, and he was shifted to the ICU at Delhi’s Vimhans Hospital on April 18. He died early Tuesday morning.

Lawyers who attended his court proceedings remember him as a patient judge whose courtroom seldom saw outbursts. He would rather hand out advice than chide those present. An avid cricketer who would turn up for practice matches with junior lawyers, Khan took it in his stride when his team lost February’s judges versus advocates match.

Khan, who completed his LLB (Bachelor of Law) from Delhi University and LLM (Master of Law) from Kurukshetra University, was earlier posted at a local court in Haryana after graduating from Delhi University.

He is the second judge from Delhi to have died in this wave. On April 20, 47-year-old Delhi Family Courts Judge Kovai Venugopal died due to Covid at Lok Nayak Hospital.

Khan made his way to Delhi after he was posted as a Metropolitan Magistrate in Saket district court, and in January this year, was transferred to Dwarka district court. He held court on cases mostly related to Immoral Traffic (Prevention Act), Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, Delhi Development Act and those arising from Palam police station and traffic circle of Mayapuri Palam Airport.

Advocate Yash Thakur, who used to appear at Khan’s court every morning at 10 am, would be surprised to find the judge sitting on his chair at the right time for every hearing. “He would tower over everyone else in the courtroom. He used to dispose of all the day’s work and stay till the court closed. There were some who would not appear post lunch, but Khan was always there.”

Jai Singh Yadav, Secretary at Dwarka Bar Association, said despite being a Magistrate, Khan found it difficult to find a hospital bed. He discovered he was sick in April beginning and was admitted to Max Hospital. “Senior judges at the Dwarka district court had to intervene to find him a bed. He recovered and held court for a day when he granted bail to an accused. His condition deteriorated, he was admitted to the ICU unit where he died,” Yadav said.

Khan was “of a judicious mind, an intelligent judge”, said YP Singh, President of the Dwarka Court Bar Association. Rueing the loss of a “young, good-natured judge”, Rajesh Kumar Kaushik, Vice-President of the association, said, “He was so fit. That is the sad part. He was a very avid cricketer.”

Lawyers who knew Khan said unlike many metropolitan magistrates, he would take quick decisions, sometimes granting bail in criminal cases the very same day. “In my position, we get many complaints against judges… In his tenure, not once did a lawyer say his order was unreasonable or that he behaved rudely,” Yadav said.

The information of Khan’s death stunned Dhir Singh Kasana, Secretary, Saket District Court, such that he switched off his mobile phone for an hour, reminiscing the court functions where he would turn up and no one would recognise that he was a judge. “He never carried himself like one. He was so approachable and kind-hearted. When he was at Saket court, he used to help out even the accused persons who would not turn up with their sureties, and take mercy on them. Judges usually make the accused stand for hours and give them a scolding. But Khan would instead counsel and advise them on the lawyers they should hire,” Kasana said.

Advocate D K Rai, who used to appear regularly at Khan’s court, described him as a “majestic Magistrate”. “He used to read ten year old files which were transferred to his court, and the facts were on his fingertips. He would sometimes offer the court file when we forgot our documents. My matters from Patiala House court were transferred to his court and he heard the final arguments and passed a judgement in four days in a case pending for a decade,” Rai said.

Advocate Avinish Rana, former secretary of Dwarka district court bar association, said Khan was a fearless judge. “He was 6 feet tall and looked very healthy. A person who played with a lot of energy on the field can die like this is unbelievable,” he said

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