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Above: Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Khehar at the inauguration of Integrated Case Management Information System in New Delhi (file picture). Photo: UNI

In his farewell speech, the Chief Justice goes back to his childhood

Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, at a farewell function on August 25 (Friday) evening, got a bit emotional, while addressing gathered legal luminaries. Here is the speech he gave:

He said: “This is my last chance to talk to you. Today I will talk about those people because of who I have reached here. First of all, my father. He was in government service in Kenya. We were three brothers. My other brothers were so much elder to me, in a way I was like their son too.

“When I took the first pay of a high court judge, my father’s pension was more than that,” reminisced Khehar. “My father sent me to a very good and expensive school in Kenya. I was taught to always work hard. I was also taught to accept failure.

“My friends consider them to be the reason for my success. However, my wife thinks that she is the reason. My father passed away in 2007 and I feel his absence. I got great affection from my mother. People of my family cannot understand why I get so much love. Perhaps there is also a connection to a past life.

“My mother taught me to win, even while facing failure. She taught me all the mechanisms. I also got great support from my wife and three sons. When my eldest son came to be an advocate in Delhi, he had to struggle a lot because of my position as a judge of the high court.

“In Kenya, my primary school teachers contributed greatly towards my growth. I was given an opportunity to debate by Baldeep Kaur and S. S. Gill. In a way, that was the beginning of my career as an advocate. When I returned to India, the level of education here was very good. Here, through my teachers, I enhanced my education.

“Advocacy is a lot of hard work. I had learned hard work since childhood. When I became a judge, I got a lot of support from fellow judges. I am grateful for the cooperation received from fellow judges and all lawyers after becoming a judge.

“I am grateful to my personal staff and the court staff. They never broke my faith. They were always present for cooperation. The Secretary General and other officers also worked hard, day and night.

“I am also grateful to my lovely motherland, the land that gave me the opportunity to serve it. What I have made of myself was because my country gave me the opportunity to. The way you can never repay your parents, in the same way, you cannot ever repay your debt to your motherland.

“In the end I want to express my gratitude to the Almighty. I’m probably born in the best generation.

“I remember the father’s official house in Kenya. The phone number was 24671. Those days a telephone was a rarity. Then came black and white television. It was a wonderful experience. Then came mobile, computer, software. The problem of finding the old case overnight has become easy. Therefore, thanks to God, I saw so much.

“Not always was I in agreement with the Supreme Court Bar Association, but I appreciate its hard work. I got a lot of support from them in the campaign for a paperless court.

“You are giving me a farewell. I also want to say goodbye to you. I wish you good health and well-being. To those who are younger to me, I say God Bless You.”

India Legal Bureau

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