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Chief Justice S.M. Sikri

Cite as : (1971) 1 SCC (Jour) 11

Once the distinguished Advocate-General of the Punjab, Mr. Justice S.M. Sikri, who has been on the Supreme Court since 1964, now adorns the Court as the Chief Justice of India. His Lordship's appointment is a matter of great joy. It has brought reassurance and reaffirmed faith in the Supreme Court and the Judiciary in India. For those who have known him personally it has been a matter of great pride and satisfaction. His Lordship combines in himself the brilliance of a fine lawyer, the learning of a reputed jurist and the wisdom of a great judge to which is added the pleasantness and warmth of his personality.

Born in 1908, Chief Justice Sikri graduated from Cambridge and was fostered in the Lincoln Inn as Barrister-at-law. A great success at the Lahore High Court he moved to Punjab after partition where he was Advocate-General for thirteen years. Of the many appointments His Lordship has held, notable ones have been representation on the U.N. Committee on Codification and Development of International Law, Membership of International Law Association, Membership of Indian Law Commission (1955-58) and as a Delegate to the World Peace through Law Conferences—Tokyo 1961 and Athens 1963. He was also on the Committee on International Rivers. He has been associated with the Indian Law Institute as Member of the Research Committee and Governing Council.

Chief Justice Sikri heads the Judiciary of India at a time when the country stands at cross-roads. There has been a polarisation of ideologies, misgivings in the political system and a fear of the Executive. In the midst the Indian Judiciary with the Supreme Court at its apex stands out as the hope for the citizens of India. The Judiciary has done an admirable job in upholding the supremacy of the Constitution. Where the rule of law is a commitment, the people of India will always look up to the Supreme Court. They would look up to the new Chief Justice while vindicating their cause for human rights, in their efforts to make the Directive Principles meaningful and while seeking social justice for the common man which is his due. With His Lordship as our Chief Justice these hopes find greater optimism.

The Indian Law Institute too is very fortunate in having Chief Justice Sikri as its President. Naturally this hitherto dormant research institute would have the benefit of His Lordships guidance and encouragement. The problems of India are many and complicated. Law cannot absolve itself of the function it has to play in a developing society such as ours. Like every other social science, law needs constant research and re-evaluation. It is high time, the Indian Law Institute set up for this task, felt its responsibility and took the lead in the development of law and legal institutions in this country. On our own side, we in Supreme Court Cases will continue to do our best to conform to the high ideals of quick, efficient and prompt reporting.

We wish our New Chief Justice a glorious term of office and offer our hearty felicitations. We wish His Lordship great success in keeping up the great traditions of the Supreme Court, in the safeguarding of individual freedom and in the development of Indian Jurisprudence to which task he brings vast experience, courage and wisdom.

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