Farewell Speech of Justice M. Venugopal

Respected My Lord The Hon’ble Chief Justice, my Esteemed Brother and Sister Judges, the Learned Advocate General, Learned Additional Advocate Generals, Learned Additional Solicitor General of India, the Assistant Solicitor General of India, the Learned Public Prosecutor, Learned Special/Additional Government Pleaders, Learned Government Advocates, Learned Senior Advocates, Learned Members of the Bar at Madras and Madurai, the Registrar General and other Registrars, Officers and Staff Members of Principal Bench and Madurai Bench of the High Court.

A very Good afternoon to all of you.

At the outset, I express my gratitude to the Learned Advocate General for showering praise and for having spoken kind words about me. Today, I stand before you in a humble manner and in awe for the reason that many of you had thought it fit to attend my farewell function of your precious valuable time. The presence of Learned Judges of this Court both [sitting and retired] and other persons is a welcome gesture. During my tenure as Judge of this Court around 11½ years, I learnt many facets of law and about the gritty of administration and I got enriched myself to the optimum level. By working in unison and with unstinted co-operation and assistance, we performed a lot of good work in the Justice Delivery System. The members of the Bar were very kind, accommodative and besides being co?operative and of good assistance to the functioning of the Court. The love and affection poured by all of you is indeed a mind-boggling one. Today, I have no words to thank the Hon’ble Judges, the Officers of the Registry and others for their support and encouragement shown to me.

In my 30 years career as a Judge (beginning from 15-2-1989 as a directly recruited Sub Judge, Ariyalur), I am indebted to my benefactor Hon’ble Justice Dr S. Mohan, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, as Chairman of the Selection Committee, who picked me as a Direct Recruit Sub Judge at 31 years of age which made me the youngest Judicial Officer in the History of Tamil Nadu State Judicial Services? My heartfelt gratitude to Former Chief Justice of this Court Justice Subhashan Reddy, Justice Markandey Katju [former Supreme Court Judge and erstwhile Chief Justice of this Court] and Justice A.P. Shah (former CJ of this Court) for providing me an opportunity to serve under them as Registrar Judicial for three years and four months uninterruptedly (from 27-3-2003 to 3-8-2006).

I would like to convey my gratitude to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of this Court for the constant support and kindness, extended to me. I also thank all my Brother and Sister Judges for their unflinching support especially all the Judges who were beside me in the Division Bench and made their valuable contribution.

On a personal note, I felt comfortable spending time with my judicial work rather than remaining active in social life. I extend my gratitude to all my attached staff members viz, Private Secretary Mrs Geethalakshmi, Personal Assistant Mrs Saradha and Mr Selvaraj, Office Assistant all these years for turning out tireless work and putting in more hours of work, on holidays too, beyond the schedule. I owe my educated parents for giving me good and higher education and bringing up with tough, stern and nurtured values. With my retirement, I can sense in impending anxiety in my wife, now that she is to bear with me all day which could be termed as ‘Mission Impossible’, where I will be considered as an ‘antagonist’. Jokes apart, my wife Mrs Hemalatha had sacrificed her great career and been the Heart and soul of my family as the ‘Captain cool of our Home.’

I am happy that my son Dr V. Vivian Kapil was brought in such a way that he should not be lured by all the transient temptations and ought to realise the hardships of life and aspire for meaningful heights. He turned out to be a good doctor and specialised in the field of Psychiatry, I am really proud to be a father of my son Dr V. Vivian Kapil, Consultant Psychiatrist in Chennai now, who has numerous International recognitions like Early career Psychiatrist Award from Egypt and being one of the youngest ever Indian Psychiatrist to become an ECP Member of World Psychiatric Association, Geneva and so on. He is married to Dr Ramya Revathi, a Gold Medalist Psychiatrist.

We as servants of Almighty, have a thankless duty to serve our ‘Mother Land of Bharat’, We are all bestowed by the Almighty to render justice to the needy people and this high responsibility requires incessant hard work, countless ruminations and altruistic attitude from each one of us with a view to make this world a better place to live in. Remember ‘World is unkind’ because it forgets ‘Don Bradman’ with the arrival of ‘Vivian Richards’ and in turn forgets Viv with the entry of demi god Sachin Tendulkar and forgets the Master Blaster with the advent of King ‘Virat Kohli’, It cannot be gainsaid that no individual is and will ever be greater than the Institution. Hence, I take immense pride, pleasure and honour to have commenced my legal career at the age of 23 and culminated as a Judge of this prestigious chartered High Court for which I will be eternally grateful.

In life, we are visited by joys-sorrow in continuum. Hence, retaining once composure is a very important unbridled happiness makes a human being proud and arrogant. Untold sorrow breaks one’s spirits. Instead of wasting precious energy on what lies ahead, one can be a ‘Karmayogi’. In what way ‘Karma’ plays out in our lives is beyond Homo Sapien’s ken. However, the crystalline truth is that none can escape Karma. The fruits of one’s actions will appear in his own time. Therefore, it will be quite in the fitness of things to focus on the quality of one’s Karma.

‘Law has been like an oxygen to me’, I have spent most part of my life with law books, legal journals, and Court than with my family, friends and well-wishers. I have no simmering doubt that the Madras High Court will continue to produce greater legal luminaries, legal minds in the years to come. I can dwell in peace forever that I have been a small drop in this greater Ocean called the ‘Madras High Court’.

Once again I thank all of you.

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