Updated: May 7, 2021 4:22:09 pm
When Ashu Garg (42) had joined the Delhi Judicial service 14 years ago he had big shoes to fill.
Garg was the son of retired Delhi High court Judge SP Garg and “wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.”
He went onto to become an Additional Sessions Judge, fighting for the cause of young lawyers. He was “worried sick over young advocates who lost jobs”, “obsessed over old pending cases” and “gave due respect to clerks”, winning admirers both inside and outside the courtroom.
On Friday, the National Green Tribunal announced that Garg had died due to Covid-19. This was Garg’s last posting as Registrar-General at the NGT. His demise was announced by Administrative Civil Judge Shirish Aggarwal in his order on Friday. Garg, is survived by his wife and two minor children.
Advocate Sanjeev Nasiar, the President of Delhi Bar Association, said that Garg passed away at Balaji Action Medical Institute. “He was admitted to the hospital for quite some time. His condition suddenly deteriorated on Thursday night and he passed away on Friday morning. It is sad that even though he got a hospital bed, he died,” Nasair said.
Former Delhi Bar Association member RN Vats remembers Garg for being an “honest and judicious officer.”
Vats said that Garg belonged to an eminent family of lawyers and his father, SP Garg, was a retired Delhi High Court judge. “He used to apply his mind during hearings and did not pass orders mechanically. I remember in a bank fraud case, in which I represented the accused, the police had asked for seven days police remand. Garg at the time shouted at the IO and only gave a 24-hour remand. He told the IO in open court he would not extend the remand come what may. He was a very honest judge,” Vats said.
Ved Prakash Sharma, co-chairman Bar Council of India, said that Garg was someone who wanted to walk on the footsteps of his father. “His father used to be a popular judge at the Delhi High court and the son wanted to stand up to his father’s reputation.”
Garg did his BA.LLB.(Hons.) from Amity Law School in 2005. Subsequently, he did his LLM from Kurukshetra University. He is also holder of Post Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Rights from Indian Law Institute, Delhi and Post Graduate diploma in Cyber Laws from Amity Law School, Delhi.
He has worked as a Law Researcher with the Delhi High Court. He joined Delhi Judicial Service in 2007 and was promoted to Delhi Higher Judicial Service in November, 2019. As a Judicial Officer, he has worked as Civil Judge, Metropolitan Magistrate, Additional Senior Civil Judge /Judge Small Causes Court, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Central), Delhi. He was last posted as Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi.
Garg joined the NGT as Registrar General, National Green Tribunal (Principal Bench), New Delhi on 14 January, 2020.
Nasair remembered Garg for using his administrative powers as a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to give job opportunities to young advocates. “A CMM has the power to appoint a court receiver who is paid to seal and auction properties of those people who defaulted on loans. He is the first CMM at this court to make a merit list of people required for the job rather than give the job to close associates. He gave the job to young advocates,” Nasiar said.
Advocate Vishnu Sharma, the co-chairman of Bar Council of Delhi remembers Garg as a judge who was very concerned about young advocates during the first lockdown. Sharma said that the fact that many young advocates were leaving the profession due to shrinking case work troubled Garg to no end. “He was very concerned for the young lawyers. At the time we had disbursed around 12 crore to struggling lawyers and the only thing on his mind was home much of it went to advocates with less than 5 years experience. He kept telling us that we have a responsibility to young advocates,” Sharma said.
Those who knew Garg say that he used to recognise clerks, who have been hitherto invisibilised in many courtrooms in Delhi. “He used to not only behave really well with clerks he used to also recognise them in court rooms. In Tiz Hazari court you will find 20-25 year old cases and he was obsessed with them. He used to start arguments on these cases and finish them on subsequent dates,” Sharma said.
On April 27, Metropolitan Magistrate Kamran Khan died due to Covid after his condition deteriorated at Delhi’s Vimhans Hospital. On April 20, 47-year-old Delhi Family Courts Judge Kovai Venugopal died due to Covid at Lok Nayak Hospital.
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