NEW DELHI: Outgoing judge of the Supreme Court Justice R K Agrawal today said the independence of the judiciary was one of the foundations of democracy and the freedom of the Bar presupposes an independent judiciary.
Justice Agrawal, who retired today after a four-year stint at the Supreme Court, said that the Bar and the Bench were indispensable to a free society.
"The independence of judiciary is one of the foundations of democracy and lawyers have worked hard to maintain the pillars of democracy. The freedom of Bar presupposes an independent judiciary through which their freedom may, if necessary, be vindicated," Justice Agrawal said.
He was delivering his farewell speech at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who was the chief guest at the event, said it was the duty of the judges to show respect to the lawyers despite their age or status.
"The Supreme Court is one. The bar nurtures us and on every occasion, I have told the young members of the bar to be the guiding angels. It's not the age, it is the entry into the Bar that makes you an angel. Whatever be your stature or status, you deserve respect and it is the duty of the judges to show respect to the members of the bar despite their age or status," he said.
On Justice Agrawal, the CJI said he was "getting liberated from one assignment. If you feel envy, you are boycotting him. If you are jealous, you give him another five years to work. When, where and how, I can't say."
"But if that is the desire of the Bar, definitely you will have it. And I take it as a concurrence from the Bar that you want him somewhere. I hope there is no disagreement," Justice Misra said.
Justice Agrawal, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, was sworn in as a Judge of the top court on February 17, 2014.
In his farewell speech, Justice Agrawal said young lawyers were the "oxygen of the legal environment".
"If only we give them fair opportunities of drafting and arguing, that will enable them to shoulder more responsibilities. Young lawyers are the oxygen of the legal environment."
"The relationship of Bar and the Bench is akin to the two sides of a coin. Neither has a primacy over the other. Both are indispensable to a free society," Justice Agrawal said.
The SCBA President Vikas Singh referred to Justice Agrawal's farewell speech, which he had rendered in Chennai while he was the High Court Chief Justice there, and said that he had called for unity among the bar and the bench for the betterment of the judiciary.
"It's a very moving speech given by Justice Agrawal and it is so relevant for all of us here today because we have to all make a pledge that we will all strive to make our institution, the Supreme Court a great one and, do nothing, either in court or outside to any manner damage the prestige of this institution," he said.