Srinagar: Former Chief Justice and legal luminary Barin Ghosh passed away in Kolkata on Wednesday. He was 63.
After his enrollment as an advocate on December 19, 1978, Ghosh practised in the High Court of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) before his appointment as a Permanent Judge of the Calcutta High Court on July 14, 1995. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court on December 24, 2008 and transferred to the High Court of Sikkim on April 13, 2010 and Uttarakhand on August 12, 2010. He retired on June 4 last year.
Justice Ghosh’s 14-month tenure in the state had been momentous and lawyers paid glowing tributes to him. “He was a strong supporter of our freedom struggle. He believed in people’s right to self-determination. He was bold, sincere, honest, upright, brave, and fair to everyone,” advocate Mian Qayoom, president of Kashmir High Court Bar Association, told Kashmir Reader.
It was during his time, Qayoom said, that Geelani was released and the police contingent deployed outside his house was removed.
“He had said that there is no case against him (Geelani) and he is free man and he can go anywhere. He said if he is Pakistani allow him to go to Pakistan and if he is a Kashmiri, allow him to move anywhere he wants to go in the Valley.”
In another case regarding the Chairperson of Dukhtaran-e-Millat Asiya Andrabi, Qayoom said he directed that she be shifted from Jammu to Srinagar jail, observing a person detained under preventive law shall have to be lodged in a jail nearby his or her house so that he or she can receive food from home.
“In the delimitation case, he asked a fellow judge sitting with him in the division not to stop us from arguing on UN resolutions. He was the man who passed several orders in Shopian double murder-and-rape case and ordered SIT investigation. It was on his directions that police officers were arrested for two months (they were later released after a CBI probe),” Qayoom said, adding. “It was for these reasons and because he was upright and brave that he was shifted from J&K to Sikkim. It was a punishment given to him, otherwise he would have been elevated to be the judge of the Supreme Court.”
Soon after receiving the news about Ghosh’s death, lawyers suspended work from 2pm and convened a condolence meeting which lasted for over three hours. Senior lawyer ZA Shah described Ghosh as an “illustrious judge with a sharp and skillful mind.” Shah also recalled that in the delimitation case filed by Prof Bhim Singh, Ghosh appreciated the Bar’s assistance “in coming to the just decision in the case.”
Another senior advocate and former advocate general of the state R A Jan said Ghosh had all the qualities of a good and brilliant judge. “He would decide on cases according to his conscience and without being influenced by any consideration.” Former Bar Association president GN Shaheen said he was an honest, upright and intelligent judge: “Besides being a good human being, he was also very friendly with lawyers.”
Incumbent general secretary of the lawyer’s body Bashir Sidiq said that he knew Ghosh personally and found him an honest and a helpful judge. Advocate Majid Jahangir, recalled his interactions with Ghosh, said that he was a good human being and “would help all, irrespective of their caste, creed and colour.”
Others who spoke during the condolence meeting included advocates Syed Manzoor, PS Ahmad, Mohammad Ashraf Wani and Abdul Ahad Thakur.
Meanwhile, CM Mufti Sayeed expressed grief over Ghosh’s demise and described him as a ‘distinguished jurist who served the highest judicial office of the state with dignity and grace’.