Former chief justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia died in Mumbai in the wee hours of Tuesday following a cardiac arrest. He was cremated as per Parsi tradition on Tuesday evening at the ‘Tower of Silence’ at Kemps Corner, south Mumbai.
Justice Kapadia, 68, is survived by his wife, son, and daughter. The judges and staff of the Bombay high court were among those who attended the last rites.
A graduate of Mumbai’s government law college, Kapadia had humble beginnings as a clerk in a prominent law firm and enrolled as a lawyer only in 1974.
He rose from the ranks to become the 38th chief justice of India and served between May 2010 and September 2012.
Justice Kapadia spent over eight years and nine months at Supreme Court, of which about two years and four months as the CJI. During his tenure, he was involved in a total of 834 judgments and authored 262 of these.
Justice Kapadia became renowned for his impeccable integrity and no-nonsense approach to graft cases when he gave a dissenting judgment in Lalu Prasad’s bail cancellation case. He also quashed the appointment of PJ Thomas, an accused in the Kerala palmolein case, as Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).
In another historical verdict, a bench headed by him upheld the constitutional validity of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
Apart from interest in economics, public finance, theoretical physics and Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, judicially Justice Kapadia had a knack for tax and economics matters.
In the Vodafone case, he held that Indian tax authorities did not have territorial jurisdiction to tax offshore transactions.
Justice Kapadia also showed great passion over the issue of public and environmental interest and went on to suspend all illegal mining operation in Karnataka after Central Empowered Committee report indicated large scale encroachment and illegal mining.
He was also pivotal in banning across the country a pesticide called endosulfan, which had adverse effects on human life.
Post his retirement, Justice Kapadia did not take up any government posting neither did he head any committee, which is the general route of retired judges.
The high court staff paid homage to Justice Kapadia, whom they described as a nice and affectionate person.