Advice from retiring Supreme Court judge to young lawyers

Justice R.V. Raveendran on Friday retired as Supreme Court judge on his attaining the age of superannuation. He was given a farewell by the Bar and the Bench, amid standing ovation from lawyers.

He was appointed a permanent judge of the Karnataka High Court on February 22, 1993 and Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on July 8, 2004. On September 9, 2005, he became judge of the Supreme Court, where he rendered landmark judgments on issues of the Constitution, reservation, education and human rights. With a smiling face, he endeared himself to the members of the Bar and the Bench.

At the function, organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia lauded the significant contribution made by Justice Raveendran. “Nobody knows what is happening at the collegium meeting. Now I can say he is my friend, philosopher and guide and he is a perfect gentleman.”

Justice Raveendran said: “Whatever little was possible by me was due to the blessings of my parents and encouragement from my family and guidance of my seniors S. G. Sunderswamy and former CJIs M.N. Venkatachaliah and S. Rajender Babu.”

He asked young lawyers to work hard. “Do not express your anger when you lose a case, start accepting the results philosophically. What you consider a strong point may be considered a weak point by the judge [concerned]. My appeal to you is do not impute motives to judges when the decision goes against you as that will destroy the institution of which you are a part.”

Important judgments

Justice Raveedran was part of the Bench that rendered several important judgments.

On the gubernatorial issue, Justice Raveendran, writing the judgment for a Constitution Bench, said: “The Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he/she is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union government or the party in power at the Centre. Nor can he/she be removed on the ground that the Union government has lost confidence in him/her.”

The court said a Governor was neither an employee nor agent of the Union government. A change in government at the Centre was no ground for removal of Governors to make way for others favoured by the new regime.

On the issue of reservation, Justice Raveendran was initially part of the Constitution Bench that upheld the validity of the 27 per cent quota for the Other Backward Classes in central educational Institutions. Later, on a petition seeking a clarification, he held that ‘cut-off' refers to the minimum mark, either eligibility or qualifying mark required for admission and it is notified to the candidates in advance. The court also said OBC seats could not be made over to the general category if OBC candidates made it to the merit list.

Recently he was part of the Bench that gave a series of directions for protecting artefacts and valuable jewellery found in the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.

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