Orissa High Court Rightly Regarded As ‘Custodian Of Constitution’

While speaking at a felicitation ceremony for former Chief Justices and Judges of the Orissa High Court as part of its 75th-anniversary celebrations, Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai, Judge, Supreme Court, stated that the High Court is rightly regarded as the “custodian of the Constitution.” Several luminaries attended the event, including former Chief Justices of India, Justice Gopala Ballav Patnaik and Justice Dipak Misra; Chief Justice Dr. Justice S. Muralidhar and Judges of the High Court; and a number of past Chief Justices and Judges of the High Court. After providing a brief historical background of the Orissa High Court, Justice Gavai stated that in the last 75 years, it has contributed enormously to the development of law and delivered various judgments that have stood the test of time and are still cited by Courts all across the country.

He pointed to some of the High Court’s decisions. A. Narain Murty & Anr. v. The King, ILR 1949 Cuttack 244, was one of the cases he mentioned. Even before the Constitution was ratified, the Court ruled that every prisoner has the right to consult a lawyer. He emphasized that the High Court’s historic decision had been repeated by the Supreme Court in a number of following cases. Justice Gavai acknowledged the efforts of Justice Ranganath Misra, the first Chief Justice of India from the state of Odisha. He made several references to some of the momentous decisions he delivered while serving on the Supreme Court. He also emphasized some of the most renowned rulings made by Justice Gopala Ballav Patnaik, the 32nd Chief Justice of India. He emphasized that Justice Patnaik was a member of the Constitution Bench that decided T.M.A. Pai Foundation & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors. He underlined that Justice Misra was a member of the Bench that determined instances such as Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India and S.P. Sampath Kumar v. Union of India & Ors. He spoke reverently about the contributions of the 45th CJI, Justice Dipak Misra, to the advancement of law in the country. In Joseph Shine v. Union of India and Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, he emphasized the outstanding judgements delivered by the Constitution Benches led by Justice Misra. Justice Gavai also acknowledged Justice Vineet Saran’s achievements as a Supreme Court Judge through a number of significant decisions. Above all, he expressed his admiration for other Orissa High Court Judges who had the honor of serving at the Supreme Court, including Justice BL Hansaria, Justice GT Nanavati, Justice Radha Charan Patnaik, Justice Deba Priya Mohapatra, Justice PK Ayer Balasubramanyan, Justice Biswanath Agrawal, Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, Justice Ananga Kumar Patnaik, Justice V. 

Justice Gavai paid tribute to the ‘Grand Old Man’ and Odisha’s pride, Utkal Gouraba Madhusudan Das, a lawyer and social reformer whose birthday [28th April] is commemorated as ‘Lawyer’s Day’ in Odisha. He claimed Das was the founder of the ‘Odisha movement’ and a fervent defender of women’s rights. He praised the Chief Justice and the High Court Judges for honoring not only the Judges but also their spouses. He commended Chief Justice Muralidhar for carrying on several initiatives initiated by Justice Vineet Saran as Chief Justice of the High Court. Finally, he praised the High Court for taking innovative actions such as establishing the ‘Lawyers of the Year Award’ for young lawyers from district courts and reopening the restored Museum of Justice.

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