Sunday, April 14, 2013


(This speech was delivered on 20.3.2013 in the farewell function Justice AM Sapre on his elevation as the Chief Justice of Manipur High Court.)
Justice AM Sapre
My brothers, members of the Bar and Registry, ladies, and gentlemen,

Jai Johar, Namaste, and a very good afternoon to all of you.

Today is a happy day.  One of us, brother Justice AM Sapre, is being elevated as the Chief Justice of the High Court at Manipur.  He was born on 28th August,1954; enrolled as an Advocate on 21st January, 1978; elevated as Additional Judge of the MP High Court on 25th October, 1999; and was made permanent Judge of the same court on 24th October, 2001.  

When his son started practising in MP High Court, he opted for voluntary transfer and  assumed charge of the Rajasthan High Court on 11th February, 2010.  This shows his character, his integrity as well as exemplifies conduct to be emulated. Subsequently, he was transferred and took charge here on 23rd April, 2012. 

When my consent was being taken for the Chief Justice of this High Court, I had some apprehension, some guilt, after all he was to become Chief Justice  of this court and perhaps I was depriving him of his due. 

But in him, I found a man of loving nature; a cooperative judge, helpful in administering justice.  No wonder, he has  been entrusted to set up a new High Court.  

It is said, 'Brevity is the soul of wit' (Shakespeare in Hamlet)  Brother Sapre's judgements are example of the same and the secret is,  he often writes his judgements by hand.

I was talking to some  of my friends from Jabalpur. They informed me some of his hidden qualities.  Brother Sapre is an excellent cook and loves cooking as  well.  He was devoted to his parents and served them till the last.

Brother Sapre, not only reads Geeta  everyday, but is a firm believer in its philosophy.  It reflects in his judgements. In one of them, a revision petition to transfer a case from one court to another—Smt Renu Jain (Pahadia) Vs Smt Preeti Agrawal and another- 2004 (2) MPHT-104—he stoically observes:
'Every party has a feeling till the last that he has better case as against the other but one has to loose.
The litigant should not be so sensitive in their  approach.   … The defeat even if suffered must be accepted more gracefully than the success.  The remedy provided under the law must then be followed to get rid of the defeat rather than  to accuse the judge who brought the defeat to a party. '
In this case, there is a message for the Bar as well: just substitute the word 'Advocate' for the words 'party' and 'litigant'.

Often lawyers grumble, when they do not get the order of their  liking. But, you must realise, we have a difficult job.  Unlike others, we have to take sides either of the petitioner's or of the respondent's. You are like Karna or Arjun and appear for the side you have allegiance to. However, we are like Yuyutsu (युयुत्सू), the step brother of Duryodhan, who listened to his conscience irrespective of his allegiance. 

You should also realise, as once Harold Laski wrote (see Endnote-1) to Justice Holmes, that he (Laski) wished if, 'people could be persuaded to realise that judges are human beings; it would be a real help to jurisprudence'We are neither gods, nor perfect. But mere human beings; prone to commit mistakes.    

With these words, on behalf of my Brother Judges and myself, I extend good wishes to Brother Sapre and Madam Sapre.  We are sure  that he will come out with flying colours in the responsibility entrusted to him.

Jai Hind

Endnote-1: Holmes-Laksi letters, ed. by Mark DeWolfe Howe 1953 page 845.

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