Everyone is suddenly identifying with justice Jagdish Singh Khehar as the designated 44th Chief Justice of India. He is the first Sikh to hold this post. But few know how his student years contributed to his success in the legal profession. Khehar is a former student of Chandigarh’s Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 16, and Panjab University’s law department.
For senior advocate and director of Chandigarh Judicial Academy, Balram Gupta, who taught Khehar during his PU days, it was rather emotional yet overwhelming to see him become the CJI.
“For a teacher, it is a delight to know that your student has made it to the top. We live in the glory of our students,” said Gupta, adding that he shared various rapports with Khehar – from being his teacher to being colleagues and now friends.
He added, “Besides teaching him, we also argued cases in court at the same time and when he became a judge, I even appeared as a lawyer before him. However, we knew our roles well when we were inside the court.”
He further said even though he was hesitant initially, the professionalism from both sides kept them intact.
Reminiscing PU days, he also said Khehar was a very active member of debating societies at PU and took part in all competitions. “There’s a reason he was the topper and gold medallist in the law department,” he added.
While VK Bansal, another teacher at PU who taught him, feels Khehar was not that active in extra-curricular activties, he didn’t shy away from saying he was a “very serious student all through”. “Besides being my student during his LLB and LLM years at PU, we were even faculty at the law department for a while,” he said.
Vice-principal of GMSSS-16, Sukhraj Kaur Sandhu, said, “Since most of the teachers who taught him are no longer with us, needless to say as an institute we are extremely proud of a student’s achievements and we hope to have him among us soon.”