Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and Supreme Court Judge-designate R.K. Agrawal on Wednesday said the recent incidents had dented the image of the High Court and it had become a subject of “public ridicule.”
He also revealed that many of his colleagues sought voluntary transfer to other High Courts. Judges elsewhere were reluctant to come to the Madras High Court. “Believe me, many of my colleagues here have privately expressed their desire to seek voluntary transfer to other High Courts. My colleagues from other High Courts are hesitant to come to this court.”
Mr. Justice Agrawal was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Following his elevation, the Bench and the Bar bade farewell to the outgoing Chief Justice at a brief function held on the High Court campus here on Wednesday.
Exhorting judges and lawyers not to tarnish the image of the High Court, he said the danger was from within and not from outside. The Bench and the Bar had to be very careful in their acts.
In an emotional speech, Mr. Justice Agrawal said, “In my entire career of more than 37 years both in the Bar and at the Bench, nobody, be it my friends or foes, has ever raised voice while talking to me or addressing me during court proceedings. But here on one fateful day, a respected colleague of mine had hurled invectives at me and cast aspersions on the affairs of the court.”
Stating that he did not bother about personal comments against him, Mr. Justice Agrawal said, “But I do feel pained when I hear that innuendos are being made against the Madras High Court and it is becoming the subject of public ridicule.”
Expressing his displeasure over the women members, who were in the forefront of some recent events (apparently referring to recent boycott), he appealed to the Bench and Bar to strive hard to regain the lost glory of the institution.
“My earnest appeal to all of you is not to cut the tree on the branch on which you are sitting. If this court faces loss of public confidence, then take it from me, you will be the worst affected in society,” Mr. Justice Agrawal warned the gathering of Judges and lawyers.
A.L. Somayaji, Advocate General, delivered the farewell address and the office-bearers of lawyers associations were also present.