Well respected at the bar, he rose to become a judge of the Patna HC and later the Chhattisgarh HC. His authoring more than 1,100 judgements are testimony to his knowledge and writing skill.
It is always difficult to write words in memory of friends, the ones you have laughed and shared a part of your life with. The loss of a good friend is a wound that never heals, it always smoulders, and this one pains particularly as he was a friend and a distinguished member of the legal fraternity who created milestones in the legal history of the country. In the 104-year history of the Patna High Court, Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi became one of the leading judges, he wrote the maximum number of judgements during his 12-year-long tenure from 2006 to 2019. Memory goes back a long time; almost 40 years, when Ajay was with us in the Campus Law Centre (CLC), a year junior. He was in the Campus Law Centre union while I was in the Delhi University students union as joint secretary and then secretary. Those were good times! The Campus Law Centre was a very enriching experience for all of us in all ways. Delhi University and CLC nurtured overall development of individuals a number of whom became distinguished leaders of society. Ajay was one of them. He left footprints for all having reached the pinnacle of success. He revelled in campus life and Jubilee Hall days for all times to come.
Time went by. Ajay went on to Patna High Court to practice. I went to Harvard Law School. The friendship with Ajay continued. I used to go frequently to Patna High Court and we met frequently professionally as much as enjoyed evening meetings at Maurya after work. He used to come with his family and we enjoyed talking about everything under the sun.
Ajay was on the face of it a quiet person but he enjoyed talking about all aspects of life. He was a committed professional and nurtured interests in law, politics and family. He was deeply concerned with world issues more so of India. He respected his wife and three daughters and again I think his wife is one of the most wonderful people I have come across, she with her mature, warm personality contributed a lot to his success.
Ajay was very well respected at the bar and quietly and silently yet confidently he rose to become a judge of the Patna High Court. He was well suited for the position. He was an ardent advocate for the cause of justice and access to justice. His authoring more than 1,100 judgements at Patna High Court and Chhattisgarh High Court is a great testimony about his vast knowledge and prolific writing skill.
His judicious and professional approach as a judge used to keep all the appearing advocates on their toes. His admonitions were lessons for young lawyers and a great push to work hard and be honest to the profession. He always preferred merit over all other considerations. His contributions in setting up the Chanakya National Law University, Patna will always be remembered by the students as well as the legal fraternity.
The untimely passing away of this vivacious soul is a huge loss for the entire legal fraternity. I still remember the day when I went for his swearing-in to the Patna High Court in 2006! We were proud of Ajay. He nobly fulfilled his duties as a dedicated and mature judge. He had boundless energies and disposed cases with gusto and rendered landmark judgements. He was a kind-hearted lawyer and judge and there are several stories of his encouraging young colleagues and friends and staff..
Ajay’s love for golf and The Patna Golf Club is well known. He was an ardent golfer. We used to go to the club and enjoy the hospitality there as much as play golf with him. He used to keep calling me for the several golf tournaments he used to organise but somehow I was unable to reach due to professional preoccupation.
We proudly heard of his elevation as the Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice. There was no way that I would not go. His swearing in on 7 July, 2018 was historic. Judges and a large number of lawyer friends had converged in Raipur and then Bilaspur. He quickly gained tremendous popularity at the bar. My friends and colleagues tell me that he was well respected as a distinguished Chief Justice. His tenure as a Chief Justice in Chhattisgarh High Court is remembered for his leadership qualities and disposal of a large number of cases.
He was elevated as a Lokpal member in August 2019. He was deeply involved with institutional development and was involved in framing the rules of the Institution of Lokpal to fulfil the aspirations of the people of India. Albeit, at the prime of his life, he passed away. I was aghast when I learnt and prayed for his recovery and health but we lost him. It has been a sad loss for all of us. We have lost a good kind distinguished soul. May his soul rest in peace and give his family the strength to bear the loss. He is survived by Alka, his devoted wife, who moved heaven and earth to save her husband. Justice Tripathi is survived by his father, his wife and his three daughters and a son-in-law, who are all brilliant and engaged in the legal profession in Delhi.
Pinky Anand is the Additional Solicitor General of India.