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Outgoing Chief Justice of India J S Khehar on Friday hoped that his dream of "paperless courts" soon becomes a reality and hailed the support of the bar in his endeavour to digitise the justice delivery system.
Justice Khehar, who was speaking at his farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said that he served the country "in the manner of discharging a debt" and also expressed gratitude towards his family, colleagues and the motherland.
"I would like to thank my country and motherland for giving me the opportunity to serve it. I served my country in the manner of discharging a debt. I feel that it is difficult to discharge a debt to your country just like you cannot discharge the debt of your parents," Justice Khehar said.
Veteran lawyer and Attorney General K K Venugopal was effusive in his praise for the CJI and credited him for taking the pioneering step of working during summer vacation to render justice to Muslim women by deciding pleas on triple talaq which could have remained undecided for years.
An emotional CJI, during his speech, appreciated the support of the SCBA in his endeavour to achieve the goal of "paperless courts".
"I must place my appreciation for the tremendous work the SCBA has done during last eight months. We have not always been in agreement but they have worked hardest and pushed themselves farthest to get what they could get.
"When we ventured to introduce paperless court system, they supported me solid and did not allow anyone to feel that the matter was not going right. I hope paperless courts will not be a dream and will be a reality in the near future," Justice Khehar said.
Justice Dipak Misra, who will succeed Justice Khehar as the 45th CJI, was all praise for the outgoing judge and called him a democratic person with a good heart and a great mind.
"Justice J S Khehar is a man with [a] democratic attitude. He has a good heart, a creation of a good mind which is capable of transmitting good thought and energy. He is affectionately energetic and has the ability to energise others because of his contagious vibrance," Justice Misra said.
Venugopal, who as the government's top law officer opposed the pleas in support of Right to Privacy, however, praised Thursday's unanimous verdict of the nine-judge bench headed by Justice Khehar.
"We have a landmark verdict in triple talaq case which otherwise would have taken years and years to be brought up for hearing. It is one of the major judgements delivered by the Supreme Court, perhaps welcomed by practically the entire population of this country where equality has been brought about to the women in this country belonging to a particular country," Venugopal said.
"We have now an extraordinary judgement which has propelled the Right to Privacy to be a major fundamental right which has been welcomed by every single person in this country and that I think is one of the greatest thing done by the Supreme Court of India," he said.
Deprecating recent practices of throwing muck at judges by some bar members, the Attorney General said such people are trying to dismantle the foundation of the justice delivery system.
"So far as [the] judiciary is concerned, they do not possess their freedom of speech in the same manner as we possess. They have to remain silent. The result of that is they have to speak through their judgements. But they cannot respond to whatever is being said about them. Be it good or bad. The result is that the members of Bar can throw bricks at the judges but they can't throw anything back at the lawyers," the AG said.
He said that lawyers cannot use "intemperate language" and throw stones at judges.
"I find it very very reprehensive because what you are doing is you are bringing down the confidence of the litigant public and the general public at justice delivery system," he said.