CJI says he has always been a valuable colleague and a ‘great human being’
Justice Ashok Bhushan, who led the Bench that had been monitoring the COVID-19 management and relief throughout the pandemic days, completed his last working day as judge of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Justice Bhushan is retiring on July 4.
The judge bid farewell to the court shortly after delivering a verdict directing the government to pay ex gratia assistance to the families of those who died of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Justice Bhushan, in another judgment, held the government cannot “abdicate” its duties to feed migrant workers, especially during a pandemic, merely because they do not have ration cards.
Justice Bhushan, who authored the verdict, set a deadline of July 31 for the Centre and the States to ensure that none among the estimated 38 crore migrant workers, who form one-fourth the country’s population, goes hungry during the pandemic. These workers too have made “considerable contributions” to the country’s s growth and economic development, he noted.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana, in his farewell address, said Justice Bhushan had always been a valuable colleague and a “great human being”.
“His judgments stand testimony to his welfarist and humanist approach. His concern for the welfare of every section of the society is reflected in his opinions and writings. Justice Bhushan will certainly be remembered and thanked for his judicial contributions,” the CJI said.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said Justice Bhushan led from the front efforts to mitigate the sufferings and hunger of people during the pandemic, be it in the form of community kitchen or nudging the government to provide transport and shelter to migrant workers.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, on behalf of the Supreme Court Bar Association, highlighted the gentle and humble manner in which Justice Bhushan held court.
In his reply, Justice Bhushan said he was proud to have played his part in upholding the rule of law. “Judges come from the sea, and merge in the sea after that,” he stated.
Justice Bhushan was also part of the five-judge Bench that upheld the title of the Hindu parties to the disputed land in the Ayodhya case.
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