Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur has become the first judge from the Indian apex court to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Fiji's non-resident panel for a period of three years.
Speaking to IANS, Lokur said: "I have been invited by the Chief Justice of the Fiji Supreme Court to be a part of the apex court there. I found the offer very interesting and accepted it."
Lokur confirmed that he will be the first judge from the Supreme Court of India to be appointed at the Fiji Supreme Court. A large number of people of Indian origin live in Fiji.
While Lokur had received the offer letter from the Chief Justice of Fiji on December 31, 2018, the day he retired from the Supreme Court, he has now decided to accept the offer and will join in his new role on August 15. He has not been to Fiji before.
Emphasising that his experience in the Supreme Court would certainly be a value-addition in his new role, Lokur said: "I will learn about their justice delivery system."
The Supreme Court of Fiji has two sessions in a year, split across four weeks.
Lokur said: "I am certainly excited to work with the judges of other countries. I hope this comes across as a great opportunity to contribute towards the jurisprudence of Fiji; with my experience in the Indian judiciary, I would certainly want to strengthen their justice delivery system."
Lokur also said that he was a part of the Mediation Committee of the Supreme Court of India since 2005, an initiative which led to the settlement of around 2 lakh cases. When asked, if given a chance would he utilise his mediation skills in Fiji, he answered in the affirmative.
Lokur was appointed as a Supreme Court judge on June 4, 2012. He was first appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court in February 1999. In July the same year, he became a permanent judge. Later, he became the Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court and then Andhra Pradesh High Court before being elevated to the Supreme Court.
Lokur had made a mark for himself during his tenure on the Social Justice bench of the Supreme Court where he conducted hearing of several important cases related to farmers, migrant labours and construction workers, who often struggle for justice.