Leading legal luminary Prashant Bhushant pays this moving tribute.
“With the passing of justice V. R Krishna Ayer, who had just entered his 100th year, the world has lost one of the greatest judges and jurists of all time and also a fine human being. He used his extraordinary juristic and intellectual gifts to help everyone he could and to address all forms of human suffering. ”
“But apart from his judgements, it was his advocacy of many causes in the public interest through his speeches, book and writings that have also had a profound influence on society and the judiciary. He wrote and spoke against dead penalty, for environmental justice and, indeed, against myriad forms of injustice that pervade our society. He was unique among the judiciary in speaking out against judicial corruption and seeking judicial accountability.”
In this context the writer of this article would like to state that Krishna Iyer fought against the imposition of death penalty for the convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi’s case for the simple reason that they have served 20 years in prison without any confirmation of their deaths by execution while serving the jail term. He believed in the principle that a convicted person cannot be punished or convicted twice.
The death of former Krishna Ayer is an irreparable loss to the judicial community as well as to the minorities and oppressed people all over the world.
While serving as a justice in the Supreme court of India, he delivered historical and landmark judgements.
He championed the causes and rights of people who were subjected to discrimination, oppression and ill treatment. In this respect, his valiant stand in support of the Eelam Tamils is remarkable. He defended their right to self determination under UN charter. He found fault with Sri Lankan governments whose step motherly treatment of Tamils drew his condemnation which very few would have expressed. Though he hails from Kerala, and born as a Brahmin, his voice for justice transcended borders of race, caste, country and religion.
In my closing tribute, I would like to recollect my sweet memories of sharing my thoughts with him on the Eelam Tamil struggle during my 20 years stay in Tamil Nadu till I was deported to Sri Lanka. Humility is the essence of greatness and he was an embodiment of it. His hospitality was something unique which I enjoyed on several occasions and is ever enshrined in my heart.
Eelam Tamils morn his loss and pray for his soul to rest in peace.