Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Wednesday said that Supreme Court judge Justice Ashok Bhushan, who is set to retire on July 4, has always been a “valuable colleague” and his judgements stand testimony to his “welfarist and humanist” approach.
The CJI, while bidding farewell to Justice Bhushan, said that he will be remembered and thanked for his judicial contributions and he has been a great value addition to the higher judiciary.
Justice Bhushan, who was elevated as an apex court judge on May 13, 2016, was part of several landmark judgements including the November 2019 verdict by a five-judge Constitution bench which cleared the way for construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.
He was also part of a five-judge Constitution bench which had in September 2018 declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.
Besides, Justice Bhushan headed the five-judge Constitution bench which had last month refused to refer to a larger bench the issue whether to revisit its 29-year-old Mandal verdict putting cap on quotas at 50
per cent and quashed a Maharashtra law granting reservations to Marathas in admissions and government jobs in the state, saying it violated the principle of right to equality.
While biding farewell, CJI Ramana said that Justice Bhushan’s journey has “truly been remarkable” and he has spent nearly two decades delivering justice in constitutional courts.
“Justice Bhushan has always been a valuable colleague. His presence on the bench and on the committees that I am a member of, has been so very reassuring. Simply because, he is, first and foremost, a great human being. This quality has found abundant reflection in discharge of his duties – both while facing and adorning the bench,” said the CJI, who was heading a bench which also comprised Justices Bhushan, A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy.
“His judgments stand testimony to his welfarist and humanist approach. His concern for the welfare of every section of the society is reflected in his opinions and writings,” he said.
Justice Bhushan said it is a matter of “great pride” to be a part of the Supreme Court.
“Bar and the bench are part of two wheels and the relationship of the bar and the bench is like that of sea and clouds,” he said.
Justice Bhushan said that the bar has always stood for democracy and rule of law.
He thanked the CJI and his colleagues and expressed gratitude to the bench, members of the bar, the registry as well as personal staffs.
The CJI said that Justice Bhushan’s journey as a legal professional is marked by many milestones.
“Justice Bhushan has been a great value addition to the higher judiciary. Successive Chief Justices have underlined this fact by entrusting him with adjudicating the most complicated matters, often through constitution benches,” he said.
“Justice Ashok Bhushan will always be remembered for his judgments. On behalf of myself and my colleagues, I wish him the very best of health and happiness. I am sure he will always find ways to contribute to enrichment of the profession,” the CJI said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate and President of Supreme Court Bar Association Vikas Singh also bid farewell to Justice Bhushan.
Besides being part of several constitution benches, Justice Bhushan was heading the bench which on Tuesday termed as “unpardonable” the Centre’s “apathy and lackadaisical attitude” towards creating National Database for Unorganised Workers and ordered its commencement by July 31 so that all migrant workers are registered this year and welfare measures extended to them during COVID-19 distress.
Justice Bhushan headed bench on Wednesday directed the National Disaster Management Authority to issue fresh guidelines for providing minimum standards of financial help to families of those who lost their lives to COVID-19.
Justice Bhushan had obtained law degree from Allahabad University in 1979 and was enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh on April 6, 1979.
He was elevated as permanent judge of the Allahabad high Court on April 24, 2001.
He was sworn in as a judge of the Kerala high Court on July 10, 2014.
Justice Bhushan was sworn in as the chief justice of Kerala high Court in March 2015.