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A gentleman judge: Tribute to Justice S Ranganathan

The qualities Justice Ranganathan exhibited as a judge were a model for judges and members of quasi-judicial tribunals. His orders were elaborate, but not unnecessarily so; not a word or a thought was wasted, and he wrote was only that which was apposite or pertinent to the dispute. The structuring of the judgments was so meticulously built, brick-by-brick, with one concept seamlessly merging into the other and logically flowing from the other. It was a pleasure to read them.

He really went deep into the issue, and would invariably trace the legislative history of the statutory provisions which had to be dealt with, and set them out with a clarity and precision that was not easily attainable. I have found it impossible to either add or remove or change a word in his judgments, or put a gloss on them as judges sometimes tend to do. His judgments were faultless products, crafted after a deep, serious and objective study of the facts and the law, aided by arguments of counsel.

Several senior counsel in Calcutta have told me that Justice Ranganathan never had reservations about deciding the matter on the basis of a point that was not argued. To him, nothing that is relevant to the decision-making process should be ignored merely because it was not argued! During my stint in Calcutta as a Judicial Member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, I have come across many of his long orders which were hand-written, apparently because of shortage of stenographers!

Source: Barandbench

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