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Supreme Court judge Chelameswar upholds convention on last day, sits with CJI Misra

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Jasti Chelameswar, who officially retires on 22 June, has been fairly outspoken against Chief Justice Dipak Misra in the last few months.

New Delhi: Putting all speculation to rest, justice Jasti Chelameswar,  as per convention, spent his last working day Friday as a Supreme Court judge with Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

The 65-year-old judge, who officially retires on 22 June, has been fairly outspoken against CJI Misra in the last few months.

On 12 January, the four seniormost judges of the apex court after CJI Misra held a press conference at Chelameswar’s official residence. At the unprecedented briefing, the four judges — Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph — bared their anguish over Misra’s alleged breach of institutional integrity, and ‘to save the democracy’. They also questioned the manner in which CJI Misra – the ‘master of the roster’ — selected benches in sensitive cases.

The three-judge bench heard around 11 matters before it rose.

The courtroom was packed, but there was a notable absence of senior lawyers including those from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). Even the law officers were missing from courtroom number one today.

Towards the end, a few advocates took the opportunity to say a few words in honour and appreciation for Chelameswar. “On behalf of a large section of the bar, it has been a pleasure and honour to appear before you,” advocate Prashant Bhushan said. “Future generation of lawyers will remember your contribution to the judiciary and the constitution,” he added.

Senior advocate Rajiv Dutta and advocate Gopal Shankarnarayan also took the opportunity to say a few words.

In acknowledgment, the outgoing judge merely folded his hands and said: “That’s all I have to say.”

Earlier this month, Chelameswar turned down the farewell party, usually organised by the SCBA, instead preferring to keep his farewell a ‘private affair’.

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