Holding a mike and swaying to the beats, Justice K M Joseph made his stage debut as a singer Monday. A few minutes later, it was Justice Kurian Joseph leading a packed hall in singing ‘We shall overcome’ and ‘Hum honge kamyaab’. At an event in aid of Kerala flood victims, organised by journalists who cover the Supreme Court, the two judges revealed, for the first time, their musical sides.
Justice K M Joseph’s song came from the Malayalam film, Amaram, in which superstar Mammootty plays a fisherman.
“Why did I choose this song? Because, when tragedy broke in Kerala, the very first persons who came forward, even before the Navy, were the fishermen of Kerala. They came out with their boats and gave succour and support and saved people’s lives. This song portrays the triumph of truth and the innate goodness of mankind,” he said.
Before performing, Justice K M Joseph sought “anticipatory bail” and said Justice Kurian Joseph had “vicarious liability” for getting him on stage.
“A few days back, I received a call from Justice Kurian Joseph. He said, ‘You have to sing’. ‘Sing, me?’ I answered. He said, ‘You have to sing and you have to sing a Malayalam song and a Hindi song’. I said, ‘For my life, I can’t sing’. He said, ‘No, you have to sing’,” Justice K M Joseph said.
He added: “Fraternity is nothing but fellowship and brotherhood. You can come to Article 51A, which speaks about Fundamental Duties. One of the Fundamental Duties is the duty of every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood, irrespective of religion, caste and, more apposite for our context today, the reason. Tragedies and calamities are inevitable all over the world at all points of time but what is encouraging is the resilience of the people of Kerala. And not only people from Kerala but also people from all over India. If we stood shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, and sang together, irrespective of the geographical location, whenever tragedy happens, I am sure the burden is lightened to a great extent.”
The event, held at the Indian Society for International Law auditorium, had Bollywood vocalist Mohit Chauhan as one of the performers. But Justice K M Joseph was the star as he took the high notes effortlessly and evoked the might of the sea and the power of the human spirit. No sooner had he got through the first line than there was a thunderous applause.
The Malayalam song was followed by the Bollywood number ‘Madhuban khushboo deta hai’. “I have studied in Delhi for four years but still a Malayalee’s way of speaking Hindi will come through,” he said. Later, he told The Indian Express, “I was very nervous. I am relieved it is over. Not my parents, nobody trained me to sing. I am a bathroom singer.”
Justice Kurian Jospeh was the surprise of the evening — his closing duet with Chauhan strumming the guitar and humming along was not listed in the schedule. “We dedicate this song to the suffering people of Kerala. We will have a third drive for the flood victims… on August 30,” he said.
CJI Dipak Misra had put the event in perspective at the very beginning: “Some may feel this is a celebration because there are different performances. I would like to say this is a consolidated effort of spending energy to raise contribution for a noble cause. Energy spent is energy gained.”
In the audience were justices of the Supreme Court, Madan B Lokur, A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta, as well as ASGs Tushar Mehta and Pinky Anand. Also present was Chief Justice of the Delhi HC Rajendra Menon, Delhi HC judge C Hari Shankar and president of the SC Bar Association, senior advocate Vikas Singh.