On his last working day in the Supreme Court, Justice Arun Mishra on Wednesday said he had “dealt with every case with my conscience” and “conviction”. Sharing the ceremonial bench with Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, he also said his judgments may be analysed but urged the legal fraternity not to give “this colour or that colour” to them.
It is customary for retiring judges to sit with the CJI on their last working day. Law officers and members of the Bar then assemble in the court to convey their farewell wishes. As physical hearings are not happening in the Supreme Court due to the Covid-19 situation, the law officers and others joined the bench, which sat in Court hall 1 of the Supreme Court, via video conferencing.
CJI Bobde said Justice Mishra has “been a beacon of light, a beacon of courage and beacon of fortitude in the face of all adversity” he faced while discharging his duties He said it has been a privilege to have had Justice Mishra as a colleague. CJI Bobde said he was aware of the difficulties Justice Mishra faced even on the personal front. “I don’t know many people who have carried out work so bravely despite so many difficulties,” he remarked, adding that Justice Mishra is leaving behind a “legacy of hard work, erudition, great courage and fortitude”.
The CJI also pointed out that Justice Mishra had excellent relations with colleagues.
Justice Mishra said he had at times been harsh in his conduct directly or indirectly and added that no one should feel hurt. “If I have hurt anybody then please pardon me, pardon me.”
In an apparent reference to the criminal contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan, he added that Attorney General K K Venugopal had submitted that he did not want any punishment but the court has gone by the law.
Justice Mishra said whatever he could do “came from the Supreme powers of this Court” and that the other judges were his source of strength. He said he had learnt much from members of the Bar.
The Attorney General called Justice Mishra the “iron judge” of the Supreme Court and that he had not come across any judge so “firm and unshakeable”. He said he would have been happy if the court had not imposed any punishment on Bhushan but added that the judgment had laid down law and that it will be remembered and debated.
“We will miss him in Supreme Court and we wish him good health,” added the Attorney-General.
Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association president Shivaji Jadhav and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi also conveyed their wishes on the occasion.