NEW DELHI: Justice Arun Kumar Mishra, who took over as a Supreme Court judge back in the year 2014, retires from the apex court on Wednesday.
Keeping with a long-standing tradition of the court, Justice Mishra was today set on a bench with Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde. The CJI, after hearing cases through video-conferencing, said Justice Mishra has been a beacon of light, courage and fortitude in face of all adversities.
CJI Bobde said that Justice Mishra is leaving behind a "legacy of hard work, erudition, great courage and fortitude". The CJI said he is "aware of the great difficulties which Justice Arun Mishra had to face on the personal front and despite that he carried on his duties. He had excellent relations with all his colleagues ."
Also speaking on the occasion, Attorney General KK Venugopal called Justice Mishra the "iron judge" of the Supreme Court. "I have not seen in the Supreme Court a judge so firm and unshakeable. I would describe him as an iron judge of the Supreme Court. He has contributed tremendously," Venugopal said.
"Many of his judgments are earth-shattering. Even in the last contempt case, he has laid down the law elaborately, though it will be a matter of debate. He will have a very useful role to play in future also. We will miss him and we wish him all the best and good health," he added.
Justice Mishra said whatever he could do came from the Supreme powers of the apex court. "All of you were the power behind whatever I have done," he said.
"Sometimes I have been very harsh in my conduct directly or indirectly. Nobody should feel hurt. If I have hurt anybody then please pardon me, pardon me, pardon me," Justice Mishra concluded by saying heartfelt thanks to all.
Justice Mishra became a judge of the Supreme Court on July 7, 2014. Justice Mishra recently delivered key judgments including granting 10-year time to telecom firms like Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices for paying the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
He also recently held activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty in a contempt case for his two tweets which were critical of the top court and imposed fine of Re 1 on him.
By his August 11 judgement, a bench headed by Justice Mishra held that daughters, like sons, have an equal birthright to inherit joint Hindu family property. The court had decided that the amended Hindu Succession Act, which gives daughters equal rights to ancestral property, will have a retrospective effect.
Yesterday, Justice Mishra delivered his last judgement by issuing directions on the protection of 'Jyotirlingam' of Ujjain's ancient Mahakaleshwar Temple. After delivering the judgement he said, "Shivji ki kripa se ye aakhri judgment bhi ho gaya (the final judgment has also been delivered, by the grace of Lord Shiva).
Recently, he had turned down the invitations of farewell functions of Supreme Court Bar Association and the Confederation of Indian Bar saying citing "severe situation and sufferings the world over" due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Taking into consideration the severe situation and sufferings the world over on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, my conscience does not permit me to participate in any farewell function," Justice Mishra had written in a letter declining the requests, however, assured them that he would visit the bar to pay his respects when the situation improves.
In February this year, Justice Mishra while speaking at an event, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "versatile genius" who "thinks globally and act locally" setting off sharp criticism from the Bar which said such statements "reflect poorly on the independence of the judiciary".
Last year, Justice Mishra had apologised for his conduct in court after a group of senior advocates urged him to be patient while dealing with lawyers. Apologising, Justice Mishra had said, "If anyone feels hurt, an animal or a tree even, am ready to apologise. I apologise a hundred times."
Before his elevation to the top court, Justice Mishra has served as the Chief Justice of the Calcutta and the Rajasthan High Courts.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court is the parent High Court of Justice Mishra. His father late Hargovind Mishra was also a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Justice Mishra first became a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in October 1999 and remained there till 2010. He was transferred to Rajasthan High Court as Chief Justice in November 2010, where he remained till December 2012. After that Justice Mishra became the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court before being transferred to the Supreme Court.