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National

SC judge hails Modi as ‘most loved PM’

February 07, 2021 05:15 AM

COURTESY HT FEB 7

SC judge hails Modi as ‘most loved PM’
Utkarsh Anand

letters@hindustantimes.com

New Delhi : Supreme Court judge MR Shah on Saturday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “most popular, loved, vibrant and visionary leader” at a virtual public function to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Gujarat high court.

“I am glad and feel proud and privileged to participate in this important function of release of commemorative stamp of Gujarat HC on completion of 60 years and that too by our most popular, loved, vibrant and visionary leader, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi,” said justice Shah at the beginning of the function, which had the PM as its chief guest.

As the sitting SC judge was about to conclude his address, justice Shah, who hails from Gujarat, once again referred to Modi as the “most loved Prime Minister”. The virtual event also had Gujarat high court chief justice Vikram Nath, Union minister of law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and solicitor general Tushar Mehta in attendance.

The remarks by justice Shah left some former judges of the Supreme Court divided on whether it was proper for a sitting judge of a constitutional court to express himself in such a manner at a public function.

Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha said such comments by a Supreme Court judge at a public event should be avoided. “These things are absolutely avoidable. As a famous quote goes, restraint is the better part of valour,” he said. Justice Lodha added that he belonged to a different school of thought and practised restraint in his personal as well as judicial life, which was also bound by a code of conduct.

Another former SC judge, justice Gopala Gowda said that he was “astonished” to see a sitting apex court judge showering praise on the PM when the government was the biggest litigant in the SC and had the highest stakes in policy matters. “Releasing of a commemorative stamp by the PM is a most welcome thing. But for a sitting Supreme Court judge, who is a constitutional functionary, to compliment the PM with such adjectives is unwarranted and uncalled for. The tremendous confidence of people in the judiciary will be eroded if Supreme Court judges start praising executives in this fashion.”

However, justice BP Singh, another retired judge of the top court, did not find justice Shah’s remarks inappropriate. “He has not commented on any case in the Supreme Court. These could be his (justice Shah’s) personal views and he may genuinely feel like that for the Prime Minister. Why should it create any doubt? I don’t think it should become an issue,” said justice Singh

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