The end of a successful professional’s journey-A tribute
Salam Rupachandra Singh
Asok Potsangbam was the 3rd son of (L) Potsangbam Mani Singh & (L) Potsangbam Ibemcha Devi of Khangempalli Pankha, Imphal. His father served in Police Department and retired as the Deputy Superintendent of Police in the State Government. The first and last are daughters with five sons born in between. He was born on 21/04/1949, graduated from Calcutta University and obtained LLB Degree from Delhi University. He enrolled in the Bar Council as an advocate on 10/02/1975 and started practicing law.
He was the senior Central Government standing Counsel for Imphal Bench of Gauhati High Court from 1991 to 08/06/1995. He left it as he was appointed as the Advocate General of Manipur on 09/06/1995. Again he was appointed to the post of Advocate General, Manipur and held the same from 02/04/2001 to 22/05/2002. While Manipur was under the President Rule, he held the post from 01/06/2001 to 11/03/2002. As Advocate General of the State for the 4th time, he held the post from 10/12/2004 till his elevation as a Judge of Gauhati High Court. He was sworn in at Principal Seat, Guwahati on 26/09/2007 as Manipur was under the Gauhati High Court which was for seven States of the North East region till Manipur had its separate High Court in the year 2013.
Asok Potsangbam also had roles in the welfare, upliftment and maintaining the standard and dignity of legal profession. He was the secretary of All Manipur Bar Association for the term 1990-91, 1991-1992 and was the member of Disciplinary Committee of North Eastern States for the period from 2000 to 2004. He acted as the secretary of Manipur Unit of All India Bar Association from 30/10/2000 to 2007 and also became the Executive Member of the High Court Bar Association, Manipur from March, 2003 to March, 2005.
He demitted office of the Judge of Gauhati High Court on 21/04/2011. Shortly after retirement from Judgeship of High Court, he was appointed as the president of Assam State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for about three and half years. As Manipur Government offered such similar post in the State, he served as the president of Manipur State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission till the permissible limit of age.
Even at the last moment before his departure, he was an Arbitrator in an important arbitration proceedings in Manipur. He was a man with wide range of reading and analytical mind. Comparatively in his advancing age also, he did read a lot and freshened his mind updating new happenings in law. He was true to the profession and as such he shone as a successful person in life. Some ailments had attacked him intermittently and surgical operation conducted and treatments followed. Ultimately, with a hope to get rid of the other remaining ailments in him, he set out for treatment to Delhi on 20/03/2022, admitted to Apollo Hospital, New Delhi and carried out surgery on 22/03/2022.
However, he breathed his last on 20/04/2022 post surgical operation to remove calculus from gall-bladder. Destiny had caused the end of the journey of this personality, but the manner he worked, the method he applied; the way he struggled will remain as aspiration for others. His mortal remains was brought to the High Court of Manipur Complex and many members of the legal fraternity paid the last homage to him on 21/04/2022.
In the reference held on the next day, the High Court Bar Association, Manipur through its vice president condoled describing him, ‘Shri Asok Potsangbam, a legal luminary among us, led a hectic life in his profession for more than 40 years. His perseverance and dedication to the profession was always a source of inspiration for all of us. He always encouraged young lawyers particularly struggling for survival in the profession. He, sharing as one of the first-generation lawyer in the family had difficulties for survival in the profession but he worked and struggled. His works and words of encouragement pushed the mind of many young lawyers’
The Government Advocate representing the State Government expressed in his condolence note as, ‘His personality and the way he conducted and carried himself both within and outside the Courtroom has always been something which was inspirational and at the same time awe inspiring to us young lawyers who were aspiring to succeed in the profession. His words of encouragement and wisdom will always echo in our ears. His ability and dedication to his works and crafts was stuff of legend which will be told and shared in the years to come. It is my humble opinion that in him we have lost a legal luminary of the State leaving behind a vacuum which may be hard to fill in the near future.”
The Chairman, Bar Council of Manipur in his condolence said, ‘Even I myself including our beloved Mr. Justice Asok Potsangbam also worked together with former Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi for the Anti Defection case while Ranjan Gogoi was working as senior Advocate at Gauhati High Court before his elevation as Judge of the Gauhati High Court.” “The circle of life has always reminded that no one can evade from the mouth of death. It is indispensible journey of life that one has to bid farewell to life.”
Representing the Union Government, the Assistant Solicitor General of India, High Court of Manipur has said, “Justice Asok Potsangbam was a warm and friendly person who could mix with one and all on even terms. He was unassuming, unpretentious and affable person. His death is a loss not only to the members of his family but also to the large number of friends and admirers including the members of the Bench and Bar alike.
He was held in high esteem and respect by the legal fraternity in the state. his life was full of vigour and diligence until he breathed his last”
The Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur, has replied, “Justice Asok Potsangbam set an example in every walk of life for all of us and we must be grateful for that. Those who were fortunate enough to have their lives touched by Justice Asok Potsangbam benefitted and their gratitude will forever stand in his memory.”
Yes, it is well said that success is out of 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. He worked hard, struggled a lot and moulded himself to be a true professional by maintaining all the dignity and decorum of the profession. His successful story as a great personality had been built up and founded on his courageous commitments and followable characteristics.
If one comes on this earth, one has to go bidding farewell to all despite we hardly think ourselves that the door of death is always open. While snatching away the life of human being, Christopher Marlowe, the writer coined “All live to die and rise to fall” Our humble and honest tributes to you, Tamo! Let it be accepted though worthless.