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H. R. Gokhale,
Union Minister of Law and Justice

Cite as : (1971) 1 SCC (Jour) 41

The formation of a separate Ministry of Law and Justice at the Union level has not only fulfilled a long-felt need in the direction of reorganisation of the subjects (vide Law Commission, 14th Report, 1958), but has also accorded 'Justice' the place it deserves in a democratic order wedded to the Rule of Law. Till now 'Justice' was given just a place in the portfolio of the Home Minister, who was over-occupied with other matters. Prof. Julius Stone in 'Human Law and Human Justice' very rightly remarks "that men best recognise justice by the absence of it". Now that 'Justice' has been recognised, we hopefully await its welcome impact on the social fibre.

That Sri H. R. Gokhale is appointed as the first Minister of Law and Justice is most gratifying. Mr. Gokhale began his career as a political worker and trade-unionist before taking up law. A great success at the bar, he rose to the Judgeship of Bombay High Court in keeping with his family tradition. His grand-father had been a Judge of the Baroda High Court, while his father was its Chief Justice. Sri Gokhale distinguished himself as a Judge of the Bombay High Court, but at the peak of his career as a Judge he resigned his office to draw public attention to the much-neglected cause of the judiciary. The 1967 election saw Sri Gokhale back in the political arena. In the recent Parliamentary elections the people voted him in displaying their faith in the principles and policies that Sri Gokhale stands for.

Law in India is still inequipped to effectively cope with the huge task and the crucial responsibilities it is supposed to shoulder. It needs to get rid of much unwanted fat of formalism that makes its functioning uncouth and look strange for the common man. Law must be trimmed enough to come to grips with the multiple complex problems of the emerging technocratic and urbanised society, and at the same time it must not loose sight of the basic human problems. Such a challenging an intricate task of law can hardly be achieved without the constructive role of the academicians, lawyers, judges and the executive. Thus the Ministry of Law and Justice has a crucial role to play.

We offer our congratulations to Sri H. R. Gokhale for his entry into the Parliament and entrustment with the task of Law and Justice. The people have faith in his principles and programmes. Their faith in his stewardship of the Ministry of Law and Justice is equally strong. We wish him all success in the new office.

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