“I think you are here for the same reason,” a lawyer told his colleague as the visitors’ gallery was filling up, “to see how they look together.”
They were referring to the Chief Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia and the man who will don that role from tomorrow Justice Altamas Kabir.
On his last day at office, the chief justice shared the bench with his successor. Kabir set aside the High Court’s order disqualifying 5 Haryana MLAs on defection charges and said the speaker of the Assembly has these powers, directing the speaker to decide on the matter in three months.
Kapadia then quickly disposed of the last few items of his illustrative career, some of them before his aides should finish saying “item no so and so”, displaying the clarity of thought and conviction he has displayed all along.
The Supreme Court bar association thanked Kapadia for his great contribution to the legal system as court no 1 was packed with illustrious members from the legal community.
“Kapadia is the living example of dreaming high and achieving it by sheer hard work,” a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association said, before extending a standing invitation to visit the bar.
The association wished Justice Kabir, who is set to take over tomorrow, “a great innings forward.”
“I want to say a few words,” Kapadia said. “My life has all along been marked by a passion for learning,” he said and in all humility went on to express his gratitude for the lawyers of the Supreme Court for “whatever I have learnt over these years.”
Whatever contribution he was able to make was because of the lawyers, Kapadia said.
Justice Altamas Kabir will assume the charge as the new Chief Justice of India on Sep 29.
Born on July 19, 1948 at Kolkata, Justice Kabir did his LLB and MA from the University of Calcutta. He was enrolled at the Bar on Aug 1, 1973 and was made a permanent judge of Calcutta High Court on Aug 6, 1990.
Justice Kabir assumed the office of acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Jan 11, 2005. He was elevated as Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court on March 1, 2005 and became a judge of the Supreme Court of India on Sep 9, 2005.
Justice Kabir was responsible for the computerisation of the Calcutta High Court, the City Civil Court and other courts in Kolkata.