Delhi High Court Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah finally gave vent to his anguish and pain over not being elevated to the Supreme Court.
The judge is the architect of two biggest judgments in recent history — legalising homosexual acts between consenting adults and ruling that the office of the Chief Justice of India is covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. He is from Solapur in Maharashtra.
"Several people ask me this question. It is for the people to judge. I cannot pretend I was not hurt. The sense of hurt is always there. But that never dampened my enthusiasm to go ahead," he said in an interaction with journalists on his last working day.
Asked about corruption in judiciary, he said, "I will not be saying the truth if I say it does not exist. But it is minimal in superior courts." Describing Shah as "one of the finest judges in present times", top jurists including Fali S. Nariman and J.S. Verma had said denial of a Supreme Court judgeship to him exposed the collegium system of appointment of judges.
Shah breaks down
An emotional Shah broke down while praising his wife and children who were in the audience for their "wholehearted support". He made it clear that he would not like to hold any post after his retirement and would rather prefer to work with an NGO.
The Best Judgment
He described the gay rights verdict as the best judgment in his career spanning over 18 years.
"The issues involved in this case were very complex. It pertained to rights of over three million homosexuals. It was a question of law versus public morality and we ruled in favour of constitutional morality."