| A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
(November 18, Cochin, Sri Lanka Guardian) On the occasion of the celebration of the 97th birthday of Justice V R Krishna Iyyer, the Asian Human Rights Commission joins with others to congratulate him and to express appreciation for a lifetime spent for the protection and promotion of human rights. Justice Krishna Iyyer is a former Supreme Court Judge, eminent jurist and a lifetime social activist committed particularly to the welfare of the poor and marginalised sections of the society.
Born on 1 November 1915, Justice Krishna Iyyer is 97 years old this month. The Sarada Krishna Satgamaya Foundation for Law and Justice organised a simple function in Kochi, Kerala to celebrate the birthday of the legal luminary on 12 November. The Vice President of India, Honourable M Hamid Ansari, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Honourable Oommen Chandy, many former and sitting judges of the country and other dignitaries participated in the function.
Justice Krishna Iyyer commands a unique position among the jurists of the world. He is a passionate human rights activist and an insightful jurist. His commitment to improve jurisprudence in a way that the law and the legal institutions would benefit everyone has been one of his consistent pursuits for very many decades. His judgments, books and articles are testimony to the mind of a keen observer of the society, who has not for a moment forgotten the role of justice in the making of a nation. In his autographs he has identified himself as a man of justice, on and off the bench.
In a social milieu where law has been identified as a pursuit, persons like Justice Krishna Iyyer has forcefully brought the message that the law is meaningful only to the extent that it promotes justice. The contribution of Justice Krishna Iyyer for the formulation of law in terms of justice in the Indian context needs to be studied more closely. Without doubt he is a jurist par excellence who ranks high with jurists of other nations of all times.
Often almost in a child like fashion Justice Krishna Iyyer joins in, in matters of social controversy involving issues of justice even today. There are many episodes about the debates to which he has contributed. His daring to criticise judgments has contributed a lot to improve the thinking on law and justice as well as to reiterate the fact that the law is a mater for the public and not only for the back-robed fraternity.
Justice Krishna Iyyer has always stated that the lawyers and judges have a dynamic role to play in the development of the society. His unique contribution to the public interest litigation is well known. He was the theorist behind this approach that has contributed a great deal to enhance the prestige of the courts.
A man committed to justice throughout a long life with an intellect that could comprehend some of the sharpest problems of our time and give expression to the most progressive ideas of justice is not only a treasure for India but also to the entire humankind. To quote William Wordsworth, it can be said that Justice Krishna Iyyer “is a true friend of humankind”. His most recent intervention is on behalf of millions of people who are physically and mentally challenged stands proof to this.
That a judge who held the highest position has also become a modern example of a Good Samaritan sets him as an example to be emulated by the all.