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Justice Dharmadhikari of Bombay HC resigns citing personal reasons

Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmadhikari.

Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmadhikari.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

He has been constantly expressing his displeasure on the pace of the probe by the CBI and SIT into killing of rationalist Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar.

In a shocking move, Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmadhikari, the most senior judge after the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, told an advocate appearing before him on Friday that he had demitted his office, and that he had resigned. 

Advocate Mathews Nedumpara told The Hindu that when he was mentioning a matter before Justice Dharmadhikari in the morning, the latter said, “I cannot grant you any relief as today is my last day”. Mr. Nedumpara asked, “Is your lordship being elevated?”. Justice Dharmadhikari then said, “I am demitting my office”.

He later told journalists in his chamber that his resignation was because of ‘family reasons and purely personal’. 

When asked about him being elevated as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court and that the discussion had started in 2019, he said certain developments happened in between, which were not known to him, because of which he was left with an option either to shift to Odisha or resign, and that he was reluctant to move to Odisha because of the short tenure.

Another scenario

In an another scenario, Justice Dharmadhikari would have been the acting Chief Justice after current Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog retires on February 24, 2020. His father, the late Chandrashekar Dharmadhikari, had held the Chief Justice post.

Justice Dharmadhikari, who did not want to move out of Mumbai for personal reasons, said he hoped to be in the city but that Mumbai was not an option. He said that while he did not mind the expectations and the work pressure, he felt bad when the expectations were not fulfilled.

He said, “My hope is that the Bombay High Court remains the same. It stands for the persons who have suffered injustice. It should continue to serve their cause. Hope this institution does not bend before the mighty state, the biggest litigant before it.”

Born in 1960 to a family a lawyers, Justice Dharmadhikari started his practice as an advocate in June 1983 and later went on practice on the original and appellate side of the Bombay High Court. He was due to retire in January 2022.

He was elevated as a judge of the High Court on November 14, 2003. He has passed several strictures against government officers. He has been constantly expressing his displeasure over the pace of the probe conducted by the CBI and SIT (Special Investigation Team) into the killing of rationalists Govind Pansare and Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.

Recently, he came down heavily on the Principal Secretary of the Tribal Development Department for not taking any action against 123 officers, who allegedly misappropriated funds allotted for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes people.

Justice Dharmadhikari was associated with the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa as a member of the disciplinary committee, and as the member of the managing committee of the High Court library for several years.

‘Gandhi did not need to file a PIL’

Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari of the Mumbai High Court, who put in his papers on Friday in an unexpected decision, had passed several strictures against government officers during tenure. Notably he expressed his displeasure repeatedly over the slow pace of the probe conducted by the CBI and SIT (Special Investigation Team) into the killing of rationalists Govind Pansare and Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.

Recently, he came down heavily on the Principal Secretary of the Tribal Development Department for not taking any action against 123 officers, who allegedly misappropriated funds allotted for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes.

Talking to the reporters in his chambers on Friday, Justice Dharmadhikari said executive inaction leads to pressure on the judiciary.

 Referring to the good old days, he said Mahatma Gandhi never needed to file a PIL but today the public at large come to courts seeking some sort of relief because government officials don't do their work and this never happened before. He said he over dependency on judiciary is not good for any country.

On his retirement he said, "there comes a time when a person must listen to his family and his body."

He concluded by saying, “I am fully satisfied with 16 years of my service here and will now work in the field of consultancy.”

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 7:17:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/justice-dharmadhikari-of-bombay-hc-resigns-citing-personal-reasons/article30820193.ece

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