By Krishna Rajit
Right from helping to restore the State road bus service in a Telangana village upon the request of a Class 8 student, to switching to his mother tongue Telugu to pave the way for peace between a couple locked in a 20-year-old case, the present Chief Justice of India, Justice N.V. Ramana, is always willing to walk that extra mile to help the needy and those seeking justice. Justice Ramana personally responded to a letter sent by a Class 5 boy and a girl encouraging them to become nation builders. There are many such incidents where he has stepped down from his high pedestal to serve humanity. The other day, the CJI, while hearing a case on air pollution in Delhi-NCR, declared that he was not a sophisticated speaker and learnt English in Class 8 only.
We have rarely seen Chief Justices speaking the common man’s language. Maybe this is because Justice Ramana hails from a humble background. He reached the upper echelons of power by his sheer dint and determination. Born to a family of farmers at Ponnavaram village in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district, Justice Ramana was a student leader, a journalist and a lawyer before his stint as a judge.
As a student leader, Justice Ramana fought for civil liberties during the Emergency and also lost an academic year. Recounting his experiences of those times, the judge said that in 1975, his father asked him to move away from their home and stay with his maternal aunt as the Government was planning to impose an Emergency. He only had Rs 10 with him then.
Before he enrolled as an advocate in 1983, Justice Ramana dabbled as a journalist. He worked with Eenadu newspaper from 1979 to 1980 and reported on political and legal matters for the newspaper.
While speaking at the Valedictory Ceremony of Pan India Legal Awareness & Outreach Campaign recently, Justice Ramana emphasised that people who suffer, do not need well-dressed lawyers or buildings, they just need the eradication of their pain. The CJI further said that legal aid practitioners, who are trained in handling the cases of the marginalised communities, can make great changes. The CJI also believes that the decisions of courts have a huge impact on people and therefore, the judgements must be written in simple language, and it is necessary for constitutional courts to function with utmost independence.
He agrees that the stark divide between the haves and have-nots is still a reality and no matter how many cherished declarations the Courts arrive at, in the face of poverty, inequity, and deprivations, it will all seem pointless. He stresses that despite being a part of a welfare state, benefits are not trickling down to the intended beneficiaries at the desired levels and that people’s aspirations about leading a dignified life are often met with challenges, one of them, primarily, being poverty.
Our Legal team salutes this man for his views and his avid understanding of human life. For us, he is the man with the Midas Touch.
The writer is Editor, APN News channel