Madras HC staff serving in feudal culture, says outgoing CJ Sanjib Banerjee

He expresses regret for not being able to demolish it completely in last 11 months

Outgoing Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, in his parting message before moving to the High Court of Meghalaya on transfer, has said the staff of the High Court here were serving in a feudal culture. He expressed regret for not being able to demolish it completely ever since he assumed office on January 4 this year.

The Chief Justice left Chennai for Meghalaya on Wednesday morning without even a formal farewell. However, he left behind a signed two-page note on his official letter addressed to “My dear family at the Madras High Court.” It had a message to his companion judges, Bar members, court staff and other people of the State.

To his colleagues at the Bench, he said: “I apologise, first, for being unable to last the distance and second, for not saying goodbye to you in person. Finally, to the few of you who may have felt offended by any of my actions. Please know that they were never personal. I perceived those actions as necessary for the institution.”

Hailing the Madras Bar, he said, “You are among the best in the country and have suffered a talkative and sometimes grumpy old judge with more patience, respect and understanding than I may have deserved. My sincere gratitude to you for all your kind words.”

Further, addressing the High Court Registry, he said that its efficiency made administration easy. He also acknowledged the sincerity that the staff had shown to improve and better the systems and processes. He urged them to continue their endeavour to bring about transparency and accountability.

He apologised to all court staff “for the long hours that you had to keep for me.” Appreciating their cooperation, he said, “My regret is that I could not completely demolish the feudal culture in which you serve.”

Finally, Chief Justice Banerjee said that he would remain forever indebted to everyone in “this beautiful and glorious State,” which he had the privilege of calling his own for the last 11 months and “for the kindness and warmth” with which he and his family were greeted during the entire tenure.

He said that he was leaving with happiest memories.

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