FORMER CHIEF Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia — who delivered some landmark rulings, like in the Vodafone case and the quashing of the appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas during the UPA regime — died here late on Monday. He was 68 years old. Kapadia is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.
Born on September 29, 1947, Kapadia started his career as a clerk in a city law firm. He later became a lawyer, and was appointed additional judge of the high court on October 8, 1991. A couple of years later, he was made permanent judge. Almost a decade later, in 2003, Kapadia was elevated to the Supreme Court. He took keen interest in economics, public finance, Hindu and Buddhist philosophies.
Several former judges, senior counsels and lawyers attended his funeral on Tuesday. Among those present were former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna, former Advocate General Darius Khambatta and senior lawyers Iqbal Chagla and Aspi Chinoy.
“His integrity was unimpeachable and his dedication to his work came at a personal cost. He avoided social gatherings and was often misunderstood,” said Khambatta. “He reached the pinnacle through sheer hard work and ramrod straight integrity, which is such an important thing nowadays,” he said.
“He was extremely patient when it came to understanding the branch of law he was unfamiliar with,” said senior lawyer Amit Desai, recounting how the former CJI made an extra effort in the Union Carbide case in 2011.
Recalling the time when he appeared before Kapadia, who was then a Bombay High Court judge, Maharashtra Advocate General Shrihari Aney said: “It was a land acquisition matter and I had appeared for Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation.” A district court had awarded compensation to farmers which was 400 times that given by the state. “While he stayed the order, he also ordered an inquiry and directed filing of a chargesheet on charge of misconduct. That was unheard of,” said Aney.