New Delhi: Justice AK Sikri, who was part of a high-powered committee headed by the prime minister which decided to oust senior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma as CBI director in January, on Wednesday retired as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Three days after his vote on January 10, as a representative of CJI Ranjan Gogoi on the panel also, helped decide Verma’s removal, a controversy had broken out over his nomination for president/member in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal. Stung by the controversy, Justice Sikri withdrew his consent to the government offer. He later said he wants the controversy to “die”.
On Wednesday, during the farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association in the apex court lawns, Justice Sikri said every judge should possess “some element of femininity” to do complete justice. He got emotional and thanked the judiciary and lawyers for their help throughout his career. His eyes were moist earlier in the day too when he sat on the bench along with Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S A Bobde as lawyers thanked him and wished him.
“Thank you all,” he told the lawyers, wiping his tears before rising from the dais. During the function in the evening, Justice Sikri said, “By nature, a part of me is feminine. Going by the quality this gender possesses, I am of the opinion that every judge, in order to do complete justice, should possess some element of femininity.”
“After all, symbol of justice is a goddess. No doubt she is shown blindfolded, but however, her heart is not shut from where emanates the qualities of impartial justice,” he said. CJI Gogoi said the conduct and sensitivity displayed by Justice Sikri as a judge will continue to inspire the young. He said judiciary, as an institution, grows on the faith reposed in it by people.
“Judiciary as an institution is among a few that have direct interface with the citizenry and judges and lawyers are like the face of the institution. As an institution grows along with other instrumentalities of our young nation, the need for goodness by the people, for the people and among the people is being felt more than any time in the past,” the CJI said.
In an era where reckless and rash narrative of a few threaten to slow down the journey and the progress of institutions, Justice Sikri has endeared himself to all of us around him by his benign demeanour and warmth,” Justice Gogoi said. Justice Sikri said even at the age of 65, there was a child in him. “That kept the innocence alive and ensured that there is no malice, which helps in fair judging,” said Justice Sikri.
Talking about whether a judge should smile, he said it was not about how many times a judge smiles but how many times the judge has brought a smile to helpless people. Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was present at the function, was described by Justice Sikri as “Bhishma Pitamaha” of legal profession.
Justice Sikri was appointed as a judge of the Delhi High Court on July 7, 1999 and became its acting chief justice on October 10, 2011. He was elevated as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 23, 2012, and to the Supreme Court as a judge on April 12, 2013.