A few hours after Chief Justice of India TS Thakur expressed his disappointment at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech, both were seen bonding in an atmosphere of bonhomie at the 'At Home' function hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee.
CJI T S Thakur and PM Modi joked and laughed during a conversation that lasted almost 15 minutes.
The function, organised on the eve of India's 70th Independence Day, was attended by a galaxy of dignitaries, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, his wife Salma, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, BJP veteran L K Advani and Vimla Sharma, wife of former President late Shankar Dayal Sharma, Union Ministers, three service chiefs and members of the diplomatic corps.
97-year-old Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh was also present.
After the national anthem was played, the President, whose term comes to an end next July, went around meeting the guests before taking his seat on the stage erected in the newly built ceremonial hall at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The venue of the 'At Home' was shifted to the ceremonial hall instead of the usual lush surroundings of the Mughal Gardens keeping in mind the chaos that prevailed during the last year's function following heavy rain.
Prime Minister Modi was seen moving around the hall greeting and shaking hands with the guests, and receiving compliments for his Independence Day speech.
As the guests savoured refreshments and sipped tea, Modi and Chief Justice Thakur were seen chatting and laughing for a long time. The bonhomie continued even after the function had officially ended.
Modi also met wheelchair-bound Marshal Arjan Singh. The standoff between the judiciary and the government has been continuing for quite some time now, particularly over the delay in appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
Earlier in the day, Justice Thakur voiced dissatisfaction over PM's Red Fort address having no mention of the problems faced by the judiciary.
“Today you heard our very popular Prime Minister’s speech for one-and-a-half hours as well as the Law Minister’s speech. I was hoping that there would be talks about justice, about the appointment of judges,” the CJI, who hoisted the tricolour at the Supreme Court lawn, said.
Asserting that he has reached the peak of his career and was not afraid to speak his mind, Justice Thakur called on the Prime Minister to take action for the “sake of justice for the people, who had great expectation from the country’s legal system”.
“During British rule, a case could be settled in 10 years. Now, that is not happening. Now, the number of cases have mounted so much, as have people’s hopes that it’s becoming very difficult to manage the problem,” he said.
"I want to tell the Prime Minister only one thing, you remove poverty, create employment, bring schemes etc but also think about justice for the countrymen," Justice Thakur said at an event earlier during the day where Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also present.