Justice Khanna will be best remember for his eloquent dissent in ADM Jabalpur — a dissent that is as historic as Lord Atkin’s opinion in Liversidge v. Anderson. He paid a heavy price for that opinion as he was superceded when it was time for him to become Chief Justice of India. Yet, he left the bench preserving his professional dignity and upholding the highest judicial traditions. As the New York Times of 30 April 1976 noted:
If India ever finds its way back to freedom and democracy, that proud hallmark of its first 18 years, someone will surely erect a monument to Justice H.R. Khanna of the Supreme Court.
Justice Khanna wrote many books. I recommend two: Neither Roses nor Thorns and Making of India’s Constitution. The former was his autobiography and gives us a poignant account of the supercession. The latter is a good summary of the framing of our constitution. Justice Khanna, thank you for your service to our country!