The judiciary must stand together and cannot project a fractured face as extra-legal elements are waiting to take over, outgoing Supreme Court judge, Justice Amitava Roy said.
Speaking at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in the Supreme Court, Roy said the top court is the guardian of the rule of law and "the bedrock of our existence is the faith, the trust and the credibility that this institution enjoys".
"I intend to tell you that we, being the guardians of the rule of law, need to secure the same, otherwise the caveat is that extra-legal elements are waiting to take over. That would spell the destruction of the institution. That would mean our extinction because we survive for the institution which is not otherwise. Every institution is a collective entity," Roy said.
He also said that despite all the reservations many have about the judicial process, people flock to the courts seeking refuge for justice.
"This is because of the credibility this institution enjoys and the trust. I feel that we cannot in any way project a fractured face to anyone. If that happens, we lose credibility. If we lose credibility, we lose paramountcy of the judicial process. If we lose paramountcy of judicial process, the rule of law is undermined. I find each one of my colleagues are excellent judges by his or her own right. Individually they are brilliant, but it is necessary to be together.
"We may exist as a musical note in isolation but that note would be only a sound of some frequency. It's only when we integrate and blend, a melody would emerge. A melody that is necessary for this institution," Roy, who retires on March 1, said.
The remarks of the retiring judge assume significance in the wake of the January 12 presser by four senior-most judges who had virtually revolted against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra. Reports had suggested that some other judges had expressed their displeasure over the incident.
The Chief Justice and the Attorney General dropped hints at the function that Justice Roy would man "one of the very big and important tribunals in the country".
The CJI was all praise for the eloquent retiring judge and said that time was being cruel to everyone as the last three working days of Justice Roy has been lost due to the upcoming holidays on account of the Holi festival.
Attorney General K K Venugopal asked the Centre to re-look the retirement policy of Supreme Court judges as they have to retire at the age of 65 years.
"It's a pity that the judges of the Supreme Court of India, that is the highest court in the country, have to retire at 65 years. Look at all around the world. There is nothing ending at 65. Today, the longevity of Indians is 70 year. The advocates running around the corridors of the SC are above 80. Now Justice Roy is retiring and look at the great loss of talent. I think it's time that the Government of India had a re-look," Venugopal said.
Justice Roy was born on March 1, 1953, at Kolkata in West Bengal. He served as the Chief Justice of the high courts of Rajasthan and Orissa and was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on February 27, 2015.