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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: January 2020

7 - Judicial Review: A Tool to Shape Constitutional Jurisprudence


I am so happy to have been associated with this festschrift in honour of Professor Upendra Baxi. It is, indeed, a privilege. Professor Baxi is sui generis. The best living law teacher within and beyond India. He is matchless. His contribution to legal literature and constitutional jurisprudence is rich and huge. Unparalleled. He is a living legend and a legal laureate, with a rich harvest of students spreading across different generations. Students of Professor Baxi, who are accomplished professors of law, senior advocates, and judges, bask in the reflected glory of their professor. In turn, Professor Baxi also lives equally in the reflected glory of his students. They have done him proud. This is very satisfying.

My association with Professor Baxi goes back to the year 1979 when he delivered the Mehr Chand Mahajan Memorial Lecture at the Panjab University. At that time, I was teaching law at the Panjab University. During those three to four days, we used to have good long morning walks at the Chandigarh Lake. Discussions used to be intellectually stimulating. Refreshing too. My understanding of the Indian Constitution and administrative law got a new focus and shape. During my short stint at the London School of Economics, I was asked if I had been to Lord Denning's court? I said no. I was told that I was missing free entertainment. Soon, I made it a point to be in Denning's court. True, the court environment was very comfortable. The barristers arguing matters could give their best. The grand old man was in action. It was a feast to watch him. The court was full of life. No tenseness. I realized that the court atmosphere makes all the difference in the performance and contribution of the Bar. On my return, I wrote a short piece, ‘Lord Denning—the Matchless’, which appeared in the journal part of SCC. This piece had been written in short sentences. After this, whenever I happened to meet Professor Baxi at a seminar, conference, or a discussion, he spontaneously would say, here comes Lord Denning. This was, no doubt, amusing. However, to be honest, I did like it. Ever since, I developed the habit of writing in short sentences.