By Krishna Rajit
From helping restore a State Road bus service in a village in Telangana at the request of a class 8 student, to changing his mother tongue to Telugu to pave the way for peace between a couple locked in a 20-year-old case. The present Chief Justice of India, Justice NV Ramana, is always ready to go that extra mile to help the needy and justice seekers. Justice Ramana has personally responded to a letter from a 5th grade boy and girl encouraging them to become nation builders. There are many such incidents where he has come down from his high pedestal to serve humanity. The other day, the CJI, while hearing the Delhi-NCR air pollution case, said he was not a sophisticated speaker and had learned English only in class 8.
Rarely have we seen chief justices speak the language of the common man. Perhaps it is because Ramana Justice comes from a humble background. He reached the top echelons of power through sheer force and determination. Born into a farming family in Ponnavaram village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Justice Ramana worked as a student leader, journalist and lawyer as a judge.
As a student leader, Justice Ramana fought for civil liberties during the Emergency and even missed an academic year. Narrating the experiences of those times, the judge said that in 1975 his father asked him to leave their home and stay with his mother’s aunt because the Government was planning to impose an Emergency. He had only 10 rupees with him then.
Before enrolling as an advocate in 1983, Justice Ramana worked as a journalist. He worked with him Eenadu newspaper from 1979 to 1980 and reported on political and legal issues for the newspaper.
Speaking at the Valedictory Ceremony of the Pan India Legal Awareness & Outreach Campaign recently, Justice Ramana emphasized that suffering people do not need lawyers or well-dressed buildings, they just need to eradicate their pain. The CJI further said that legal aid professionals, trained in handling cases of marginalized communities, can make a big difference. The CJI also believes that the decisions of the courts have a great impact on the people and therefore the judgments should be written in plain language and it is necessary that the constitutional courts function with utmost independence.
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He admits that the stark divide between the haves and have-nots is still a reality and no matter how many sweet declarations the Courts come up with, in the face of poverty, inequality and deprivation, it will all seem futile. It underlines that despite being part of the welfare state, the benefits do not reach the desired beneficiaries at the desired levels and that people’s ambitions to lead a decent life are often met with challenges, one of them being poverty in particular.
Our Legal team salutes this man for his insights and keen understanding of human life. For us, he is a man with the Midas Touch.
The writer is the Editor, APN News channel