Retiring Calcutta High Court judge Chitta Ranjan Dash in his farewell speech on Monday credited the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for shaping his personality and instilling in him values such as courage and patriotism.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Today, I must unfold my true self,” said Dash. “I owe a lot to one organisation, which is a mercenary organisation. I am there from my childhood till I attained my youth. I have learned to be courageous, upright, have equal view for others, and above all, a sense of patriotism and commitment to the work wherever you work. And to the distaste of some of the persons, I must admit here that I was and I am a member of the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh].”

He said he had distanced himself from the organisation 37 years ago.

“I never used the membership of my organisation for any advancement of my career, because that is against our principle,” Dash said. “I have treated everybody at par, be it a Communist person, be it a BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] or Congress or even TMC [Trinamool Congress] person. I do not have any bias against anybody.”

He said he was ready to go back to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh “if they call me for any assistance”.

Dash said he does not have “any bias against any political philosophy or mechanisms” and all were equal before him.

“I tried to dispense justice on two principles: one is empathy and second is law can be bent to do justice, but justice cannot be bent to suit the law,” he said.

Dash, who is from Odisha, had enrolled as an advocate in 1986. He joined the Odisha judicial service in 1999 and served as an additional district and sessions judge in several parts of the state.

He was appointed as an additional judge of the Orissa High Court in October 2009 and was transferred to the Calcutta High Court in June 2022.

In October, Dash became the subject of a controversy after a High Court bench comprising him said that adolescent girls must control their sexual urges and adolescent boys must train themselves to respect women.

The Supreme Court in December said that the observations were “unwarranted and highly objectionable”. The High Court’s observations violated the rights of adolescents under Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution, the top court said.