22, Jul 2020 | Anand Grover
Justice Hosbet Suresh was a deceptively simple person. Simple in his lifestyle and clothing. Those things did not matter to him. The only thing that I remember he was fond of was his decanted coffee which he encouraged me to take.
But his hallmark was his impatience with injustice, whether it be in a legal case or endemic in the system or in society. He would be openly critical on things that he felt were done the wrong way. The first time that happened in my presence when I was with him at the bar I felt that he was being overly critical on the issue. But soon I realized that he deeply cared for the issue at hand and he felt that it could have been easily done the right way. That annoyed him to the point of impatience. But it was because he cared for the issue. And that was why he did not take his critical nature when moved from the Bar to the Bench. In fact, he was a very popular judge. He was conscious of his role as judge and not only cared about the issue at hand in a case about also about the justice delivery system as a whole. His impatience and the energy associated with was evident even as a judge. Though he was, according to me a perfect judge, justice was done to him either in the Bombay City Civil and Sessions Court or in the High Court. That was to await his role in the post retirement life.
It was impatience, particularly for his quest for justice, and his boundless energy which came in handy in his post retirement life where he shone as a star on human rights and civil rights field in India. The number of enquiries, the quality and wealth of the reports and their timeliness showed his mettle. They are unmatched till this day. His commitment and zeal wese evident from the fact that he never refused an assignment from any NGO. His esteem in the NGO world was evident from how many NGOs came to pay respects to him at the diverse ceremonies online from the wide spectrum of peoples’ movements. All knew that the one voice that they could count on was that of Justice Hosbet Suresh.
He leaves a legacy in the human rights movement of the jurisprudence of enquiries into their violations which will not be easy to emulate. His reports document the history of violations of human rights which bring forth the true history of the people against the false narratives that are sought to be painted by the state and its epigones.
Not only will Justice Suresh be missed for his commitment, energy, intellect and simplicity but more so because there is none to replace him from the judiciary on the horizon. Particularly because of the deep cleavages that the State has imposed in society on the political and the economic front. His ideas will linger on long after the State has failed to rewrite false narratives history and will, in fact, pave the way and give energy and spirit to the peoples movements to overcome the obstacles they face at this juncture.