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Chief Justice SH Kapadia – pilgrim of Justice is how Forbes India magazine described him weeks before he retired as the Chief Justice in later part of 2012. Born few weeks after India gained independence, he came from a modest background – simplicity, hard work, grit, determination and above all, impeccable integrity contributed to his rise to the highest level any legal professional can accomplish.

He has been a source of inspiration to younger lawyers and personally to me encouraging me to enter the legal profession after practicing as a Chartered Accountant most of my work life. ‘Knowledge of Economics, Accounting and Financial Management will certainly help you gain deeper insights into legal profession’, Justice Kapadia told me as a new entrant in the legal profession. He firmly believed and practiced the art of grasping deeper understanding of technical nuances of business before attempting to deliver a judgement. It was often the case in his Court wherein he would request Lawyers to explain background and commercial realities before dwelling on legal aspects. He was compassionate towards younger Lawyers and encouraged Juniors to appear in his Court. He firmly believed in the principle ‘never stop learning’ reflected in his capacity to read and absorb. A brief for opinion to Justice Kapadia after his retirement meant couriering boxes of files for his reading as he would always request for more material before expressing a view. Noted Jurist Soli Sorabjee talking about Justice Kapadia said ‘a litigant may feel disappointed if he loses the case, but no litigant goes back from his court feeling he was not fairly heard’.

A proud Indian and true nationalist, he once said in a function organised by the Parsee community to felicitate him on his elevation as Chief Justice ‘I am proud to be an Indian. India is the only country where a member of minority Parsi community with population of 167,000 like myself, can aspire to attain the post of Chief Justice of India. These things do not happen in our neighbouring countries.’ A true Karma Yogi, he will be remembered and missed.

Fill your mind with me; love me; serve me; worship me always. Seeking me in your heart, you will at last be united with me.

Srimad  Bhagavad-Gita

Ms.Kapadia, Hoshnar, and all family members, we share your loss.

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