It is important for all stakeholders to maintain the independence not only of the judiciary but of the bar as well for a flourishing democracy, Justice Madan B. Lokur of the Supreme Court said on Friday.
Recognised for his "compassion and empathy" for the disadvantaged and vulnerable section of society, Justice Lokur said that as a flourishing democracy the "independence and integrity of bar is very important" and they should be independent of judiciary also.
Justice Lokur was speaking at a farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar association on his last working day in the top court before it goes into a two-week winter break from Saturday. However, he retires on December 30, 2018.
Justice Lokur is one of the four judges, including now Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice J. Chelameswar who had addressed media on January 12 flagging the issues relating to the working of the top court, including allocation of sensitive cases to certain benches.
Expressing concern over the staggering increase in number of cases in lower courts to 2.91 crore and High Courts by 40 lakh, Justice Lokur said the exercise undertaken by Chief Justice Gogoi to fill the vacancies in subordinate judiciary and required infrastructure -- court rooms, judges residences and court manpower -- needs to be supported by all.
Describing Justice Lokur as "flag bearer in environmental jurisprudence", Chief Justice Gogoi said his association with Justice Lokur stretches 50 years when their rooms were opposite each other in a hostel.
While Justice Lokur was studying law, he was pursuing his post-graduation, CJI Gogoi said.
Describing him as a "pro-citizen and pro-victim judge", CJI Gogoi referred to Justice Lokur's recent verdict in the Nipun Saxena case on protecting the identity of rape victims.
The CJI also referred to his recent judgment where he said socio-economic conditions of an accused must be kept in view while awarding the sentence.
"This is an emotional moment for me. We have 50 years of association. He went to do law, I went to do post-graduation. I feel my right arm has been taken away," CJI Gogoi said, adding Justice Lokur was an "outstanding judge with an extraordinary capability".
Justice Lokur "decides cases according to law but has a liberal approach towards under-privileged and vulnerable sections of society"; he is a pro-citizen and pro-victim judge, said CJI Gogoi.
Newly elected SCBA President Rakesh Sharma too recalled the great achievements of Justice Lokur as the head of e-committee and creating a war room in the Supreme Court from where the progress of all the cases in any court across the country can be monitored.