Madras High Court echoes its big loss as Justice Rajiv Shakdher returns to Delhi HC

Rajiv Shakdher

Justice Rajiv Shakdher bid farewell to Madras High Court yesterday. The farewell function organised on the occasion of his departure to his parent High Court at Delhi, drew a large crowd of well-wishers from the Court.

In addition to sitting judges and members of the bar, former Justices KN Basha and Akbar Ali were also in attendance.

Advocate General, Vijay Narayan could not be present on the occasion. However, the general tenor of the crowd, on having to bid adieu to the judge, was summed up in the speech delivered on his behalf.

It was remarked that words spoken at the time of Justice Shakdher’s transfer to the Madras High Court could not be truer on the occasion of his transfer back to Delhi, although this time, “it was a gain for the Delhi High Court and a big loss for the Madras High Court.

Referring to the judge as Solomon the wise, in light of his fair handedness in delivering judgments, it was said that his 21-month stint at the Madras High Court was filled with memorable moments.

The Judge was praised for being extremely courteous and for his fairness in hearings, which left all parties in the courtroom content, regardless of the verdict. His proactive role as the Chairman of the E-Court Committee and the Digitization Committee was also acknowledged, as was his role in proposing the idea of having friendly cricket matches between the Bench and the Bar.

Speaking on his departure from the Madras High Court, Justice Shakdher said,

Farewells are always difficult and this one is not going to be easy.”

He recalled the intimation of his impending transfer from the Delhi High Court as initially having “…shook every fibre of myself… [it] tested our resilience, our character….and belief.”

However, in due time, he came to feel that there is “…so much good in the world, which we were unable to fathom…

In this regard, he acknowledged the immense support he had received from members of Delhi bar, friends and well-wishers, even as the “…process hastened, as if some unseen forces were at work.”

And despite Chennai being unfamiliar turf, he indicated that he had come to enjoy his time at the Madras High Court. Drawing parallels to a cricket match on unfamiliar grounds, he remarked,

Today the match in Chennai over… You never get to know the true result in tangible terms… but the love, affection and warmth I received, tells me I did alright.

He further said that all the work he did on the judicial and the administrative side, pales in comparison to the love he has received from the Madras High Court.

On the High Court itself, he remarked that there was no need to tell the audience that the Madras High Court has a rich heritage. The High Court, he said, has an outstanding future. He specifically referred to the recent appointments to the Bench as having ignited hope.

He opined Madras High Court now poses tough competition to other High Courts. In this regard, he also made note of the outstanding talent among members of the Madras Bar, especially younger lawyers, who were appreciated for being precise, sharp, quick witted and fearless in putting across their points.

Notably, Justice Shakdher also named and expressed his profuse gratitude to each of his personal staff, the members of the High Court IT committee as well as his intern, making it a point to highlight distinct qualities that set each person apart.

He thanked former Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and his wife, Shivani Kaul, whose presence, he remarked, ensured that he continued his journey with same zeal which he carried, when he entered the profession.

He also expressed his sincere gratitude to Chief Justice Indira Banerjee. In particular, Shakdher J. acknowledged her role in not deputing him to the Madurai Bench. Although no discussions were held on the subject, Justice Shakdher jokingly ventured a guess, that perhaps the Chief Justice did not want to make it any worse for him, given his status as an IDR i.e. internally displaced person.

As his speech came to a close, he acknowledged the support of his family whose prayers and intense desire to return home seems to have moved even the Gods.

Concluding his address, Justice Shakdher said that if he were to pick one sentence to sum up his experience at the Madras High Court, it would be,

I had the time of my life.”

Justice Shakdher is expected to take oath as a judge in the Delhi High Court on January 15, 2018

Image Courtesy: The Frontline