“You may like him, you may not like him but you certainly can’t ignore him,” this is how Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia described justice Markandeya Katju of the Supreme Court, who retired on Monday.
Known for his landmark verdicts on live-in relationship and euthanasia and the controversial ones prescribing death penalty for all cases of fake encounter killings and honour killings, Justice Katju received accolades for being intellectually honest.
“We live in an environment of hypocrisy and it requires great courage to speak the truth,” the CJI Kapdia said praising Justice Katju for being courageous and forthright.
Without courage there can be no truth and without truth there can be no other virtue.” As Justice Kapadia quoted Sir Walter Scott, hundreds of judges and advocates clapped to appreciate the praise heaped on Justice Katju, whose family members were also present at the farewell function.
Such was the eagerness to hear Justice Katju that in the midst of the programme some advocates started shouting, “Justice Katju…Justice Katju…we are here to hear Justice Katju…”
But much to their disappointment, Justice Katju was brief in his speech, which was limited to giving thanks to his brother judges, advocates and the court staff.
Apart from the Chief Justice of India, several judges and members of the bar were also present at the Indian Law Institute to give him an affectionate farewell.
Earlier, Attorney General GE Vahanvati, SCBA president PH Parikh, SCBA secretary KC Kaushik and some other speakers wished a wonderful post-retirement life to Katju, who refused to take any questions from the media.