Soli J Sorabjee, former Attorney General for India, Russi Vachha, Dr Manish Arora and Justice Mohit Shah, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court releasing the book.
Recently, former Chief Justice of India SP Bharucha cautioned the Indian Judiciary against "overstepping boundaries". He said, "Given what is going on around us today, courts must assert judicial independence. but we must be aware that the Constitution has assigned different roles for different bodies. We must not overstep boundaries." The former CJI was addressing a gathering of judges, lawyers and invitees at the majestic, and once chandeliered, central court room of the Bombay High Court. They had come to witness a historic event-the re-release of an unofficial history of the Bombay High Court titled Famous Judges, Lawyers and Cases of Bombay , authored by the scholarly and witty lawyer PB Vachha. Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Mohit Shah said it was his "privilege" to release the book, which had been out of print for four decades.
Vachha was originally commissioned by a former CJ to write the court's history. But, when he declined to remove some text which a committee objected to, it was printed privately in 1962 and became "instantly popular" among lawyers and law lovers. Ensuring its reprint now is former Attorney General for India Soli Sorabjee who has also written an insightful introduction for it. Describing how the book brings alive lives of past judicial and legal giants, Sorabjee called it as a "seminal book on the history of the HC".
The book, which tracks judicial history from 1661 to 1947 and also captures conflicts between the executive and the judiciary in Bombay since 1687, is a "delightful insider account of legendary judges and lawyers of courage," said CJ Shah. As the legal giants spoke, at least one legendary judge, Sir John Peter Grant, seemed to almost emanate his courage through his life-size portrait adorning a wall in the historic domed courtroom, which convicted Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak; outside, his famous words are still imprinted on a plaque. Vachha was a lawyer for almost 50 years, but as his son Rusi revealed, he also spent 40 of those writing a column called 'Third Leader' on current affairs for TOI.