New Delhi: Justice GS Singhvi, known as a bold and pro-active Supreme Court judge who kept government on tenterhooks on public issues including 2G spectrum scam, retired on Wednesday after delivering his last judgement upholding gay sex as a criminal offence.
Singhvi, the senior most Supreme Court judge, who heard a number of sensitive cases and pronounced landmark verdicts including scrapping of 2G spectrum licences during his a little over six-year tenure, had yesterday given a body blow to politicians and bureaucrats with a path-breaking judgement against misuse of red beacon lights on vehicles used by them, saying it was reflective of the "Raj mentality".
The 65-year-old judge had hit the spotlight when he directed the CBI to probe into various aspects of criminality arising out of the intercepted conversations of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with corporates, politicians and journalists.
However, Singhvi who used to go minutely into the case files, left unfinished the issue of right to privacy raised by former Tata chief Ratan Tata which arose from the Radia tapes and his tenure also saw many of the other important issues being left undecided. This includes plea on new drug pricing, police reforms and banning gutka.
The judge, whose many orders brought relief to the underprivileged and weaker sections, however, reflected his conservative and traditional approach regarding rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans genders (LGBT) by today setting aside the Delhi High Court`s verdict which had ruled that no discrimination can be permitted in the country on the basis of sexual preferences.
His verdict drew sharp criticism from various quarters including some senior lawyers, who said that a historical opportunity to expand the constitutional values was lost by the judge.
Justice Singhvi had also held that all natural resources
are national assets and have to be allocated keeping in view the national interest and not the private interests.
The 2G spectrum scam was one of his most important cases in which he didn`t even spare the Prime Minister`s Office and minced no words in criticising government functionaries which led to resignation of former Telecom Minister A Raja.
The close scrutiny of 2G scam probe by a bench headed by Justice Singhvi led to several top corporate honchos, politicians and bureaucrats finding themselves in jail.
Justice Singhvi, who became the judge of the Rajasthan High Court in 1990, also worked in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Gujarat High Court and became the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court before his elevation as the Supreme Court judge on November 12, 2007.
Known as a no non-sense judge, he made concerted efforts to protect the dignity of retired judges which was reflected during the hearing for establishment of National Green Tribunal and its benches with his observations that the judges should be given accommodation and facilities commensurate to their high office.