New Delhi: Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday said Supreme Court judge Justice S. Abdul Nazeer was a judge dedicated to the law and all those affected by it, and was a "people's judge".
Justice Nazeer, who was known for keeping the atmosphere light in the courtroom, demitted office after being in the apex court for about 6 years.
In his address at the farewell function organised for Justice Nazeer by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Chief Justice Chandrachud said he was a farmer at heart, and it was a difficult life for him to grow up on his uncle's farms and he had even scavenged for fish which used to wash up on the beach there.
Justice Nazeer was a judge dedicated to the law and all those affected by it and was a "people's judge", he added.
SCBA President Vikas Singh said Justice Nazeer was the only Muslim judge on the bench, which decided the Ayodhya title dispute, and there was an expectation that he would author a separate judgement, "concurring, or not".
"He is a true embodiment of secularism in this country. He not only agreed to give a unanimous verdict without naming who wrote that judgment, but he also agreed with the view of the majority," Singh said that it showed for Justice Nazeer, it was the "nation first, himself as a judge second, and himself as an individual last".
The Chief Justice also said: "Justice Nazeer has been here and has done everything that is expected of a judge..." He appreciated Justice Nazeer for rendering services as a collegial colleague on the bench and in the collegium.
Born on January 5, 1958, at Beluvai in Karnataka Dakshina Kannada district, Justice Nazeer enrolled as an advocate on February 18, 1983, after completing his LLB degree from SDM Law College, Mangaluru.
He practiced before the Karnataka High Court and was appointed as its Additional Judge on May 12, 2003. He became a permanent judge on September 24, 2004 and was elevated to the Supreme Court on February 17, 2017.
Justice Nazeer was part of several landmark constitution bench decisions, which included triple talaq, right to privacy, Ayodhya case, and recently on the Centre's 2016 decision on demonetisation, and free speech of lawmakers.
Justice Nazeer said that the situation in the Indian judiciary today is not as grim as it used to be though a wrong impression is conveyed due to misinformation.
"There is always room for improvement. If I say Indian judiciary is immune to gender inequalities, I can't be farther away from reality," he said, emphasising that the representation of women in the judiciary is still very low.
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