Receiving the first copy of Justice Bhagwati's memoirs 'My Tryst with Justice' here from Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, Mukherjee recounted a "remarkable" 26-year journey that the former CJI has had in the Gujarat High Court and in the Supreme Court.
The book is a "humble explanation" of Justice Bhagwati's life and how his heart "ached for marginalised and forgotten people" of the society, the President said about the book and credited him of transforming judiciary into "weapons of the people".
"He is a judge who was truly of the people and for the people...Justice Bhagwati was a willing defender of the weak," the President said, adding that he was instrumental in humanising laws.
Justice Bhagwati's tenure was marked by contributions and continuous efforts to improve the justice delivery and distribution system, the President said.
"He converted the courtroom into a site of people's struggle in humanising law.
Justice Bhagwati epitomises how a judge can be instrumental in espousing the cause of justice to the millions of deprived Indians who are standing in the waiting room of history to become the subjects of justice," he said.
"He was a champion of human rights in the international fora and he served as the Human Rights Commissioner of the UN for long...The book is a reflective and revelation of an impressive and sensitive man," the President said.
Mukherjee also noted Justice Bhagwati's role in releasing "countless" number of bonded labourers under captivity and called him a pioneer of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India, promoter of the right to legal aid and emissary of Lok Adalats.
Justice Kabir in his speech called Justice Bhagwati as a "keeper of human rights" and the person who gave a "new shape and new vision" to the public law of the country.
New Delhi: Lavishing praises on former Chief Justice of India Justice P N Bhagwati, President Pranab Mukherjee today called him a "willing defender" of the weak and an "extraordinary judge" whose heart ached for forgotten and marginalised people.
First Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 20:55