In a rare gesture, lawyers practising in the Madras High Court Bench here on Sunday gave a standing ovation to Prafulla Kumar Misra, a bold, honest, humane and hilarious former judge who served the Madras High Court for more than eight years before his elevation as Chief Justice of the Patna High Court in August 2009 and his retirement a month thereafter.
Mr. Misra, who could not visit Madurai to attend a farewell party, was at his wittiest best when he delivered a lecture on the role of advocates in judicial administration. Expressing regret for not coming here in August, he said that he left for Patna from Chennai in a hurry because he was anxious to take oath in the Patna High Court and attend the Chief Justices' conference held in New Delhi the very next day.
“I just wanted to know what was happening in the Chief Justices' conference because that would be my first and last experience. As usual, I did not find anything worthwhile happening there. The only thing is that we had good lunches and dinnersSeriously speaking, the credit for a good judgement should be apportioned equally between the petitioner's lawyer, the respondent's lawyer and the judge who delivers the verdict. While the petitioner's counsel presses the law correctly, the respondent's lawyer tries to confuse the judge. The real test for a judge is not to get confused by irrelevant arguments and deliver a correct judgement, he said.
Recalling his transfer from the Orissa High Court to Madras High Court in June 2001, he said: “I was given in adoption from Orissa to Tamil Nadu. So, after I came here, I always thought that Tamil Nadu comes before my home State Orissa. Everything that I did either in my judicial capacity or in my administrative capacity, I did them with the best interest of this State in mind.
Stating that he had rendered many controversial judgements, including ordering of re-polling in the Chennai Corporation elections on grounds of rigging and glaring irregularities, he said: “I have rendered myself controversial even in administrative matters. But I had no axe to grind against any person here. I had no animosity against any person here.”