Delhi high court acting chief Justice AK Sikri, hailed by many for “improving many lives” and being a “humanitarian judge,” bid adieu to the capital to take charge as the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court. Madras high court judge Justice D Murugesan will take over as the new chief justice of the Delhi HC.
Appointed as a judge on July 7, 1999, justice Sikri became the acting chief justice on October 10, 2011. During his stint as Delhi HC chief, he gave orders to crackdown on child trafficking, child labour, directed proper shelters for the homeless, started posting of all FIRs online, etc.Justice Sikri also took several innovative administrative decisions such as introduction of e-courts in subordinate courts and child witness court room. During his tenure as patron-in-chief of the HC mediation centre, the process of pre-litigation mediation was started.
Starting at a slow pace in 2010, the arbitration centre at HC received special attention during Justice Sikri’s tenure and now has 300 references. He also got the rules amended to incorporate rules for international arbitration.
“When heart is full of emotions, words do not strike the mind. I felt this handicap today. I may have flawlessly dictated judgments in the open court or sitting in the chamber. I may have given extempore speeches on various occasions without any difficulty,” 58-year-old justice Sikri said during his speech during a full-court farewell packed with judges and lawyers.
Asked why he became emotional, he replied: "Delhi is my native place. I have spent 35 years in the Delhi HC — 22 years as a lawyer and 13 years as a judge.”
Delhi government standing counsel Najmi Waziri summed up Sikri’s contribution best: “Being a Delhiite, he understood the problems of Delhi and suggested the most effective approach. He was never swayed by emotions and the frenzy whipped up on many issues. He strictly went by the rule of law.”