Hon’ble Justice Kshitij R. Vyas was born in the Gujarati village of Bhalod in the Bharuch District in 1944. He graduated from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda with a law degree in 1968 and began practising in the Gujarat High Court on civil, criminal, and constitutional problems. In addition, he handled a number of problems relating to Revenue and Taxation law. He also appeared in front of the Supreme Court of India on several occasions. Kshitji R. Vyas worked as a law representative for the Uchha Nyayalaya Patrika, a Central Government law journal. At various times, he was elected to the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association’s Managing Committee, as well as Joint Secretary, Secretary, and Vice President.
India Samvad contains records demonstrating how Reliance Industries, the country’s largest and wealthiest firm, operates in the legal system. The documents demonstrate that KR Vyas, the most powerful Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, was well-known to Reliance. India Samvad would not comment on the Vyas-Reliance relationship, Justice Vyas’ bail orders, or his corporate decisions, preferring to focus on the confidential letter, which speaks louder than words. “I am glad to inform you that your consultation has been further extended for one year i.e. upto April 30, 2015,” writes Reliance Group President (Corporate Affairs) Parimal Nathwani in a letter to Justice KR Vyas. In plain English, the letter discloses that Justice Vyas was getting large sums from Reliance as consulting fees. Seeing Reliance’s shady track record, several other retired judges approached by Dhirubhai’s successors declined to work for the company. Justice Kshitij R Vyas previously served on the Gujarat High Court as a judge. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court in February 25, 2006. According to sources, Justice Vyas was close to both Mukesh Ambani and Gujarat’s then-chief minister, Narendra Modi. Justice Vyas was named Chairman of the monitoring authority overseeing false encounters in Gujarat on Modi’s recommendation. In a blow to Modi, the Supreme Court removed Justice Vyas from his post. It was an unusual ruling by a Supreme Court bench, as no Chief Justice, retiring or active, had ever been treated so badly by the court.
Kshitji R. Vyas has asked the Gujarat High Court to dismiss his letter, in response to which the Gujarat High Court filed a petition contesting the awarding of plots to former and current justices in the city’s upscale Sola neighbourhood.
“Permit me to withdraw if permitted and/or ignore the letter dated July 06, 2015 addressed to the acting Chief Justice (at the time, Justice V M Sahai),” wrote Justice (retired) Vyas in a letter to the High Court two days ago.
The HC had formed a larger bench to hear the matter, but on August 12, the Supreme Court stopped the proceedings.
“I did not anticipate it would have such extensive implications when I addressed the letter…pointing out some illegalities in the allotment of plots,” Justice Vyas remarked.
While it was the court’s authority to take up a suo motu (on its own) PIL, “the manner in which the proceedings have been going on since last two days, such as exchange of heated discussion between the Bar and the Bench have angered me and (caused) me to have second thoughts,” Vyas said.
“People and the media are watching this show and making derogatory and unjustified comments about the judges, making me feel like I shouldn’t have addressed the letter.”According to the letter, he will now accept any judgement, even plot allocation to retiring judges.
After transforming the letters sent by Vyas and another former judge, B J Sethna, into a PIL, the Gujarat High Court issued notifications to the state government and 27 judges (including a Supreme Court judge) on August 10.
Vyas and Sethna have raised concerns about how the plots were distributed. The proceedings were delayed two days later by the Supreme Court.
SOME OF HIS POPULAR JUDGEMENTS
1.) Shri Antonio J. Pimenta And Ors. V. Deputy Collector And Land on 6 June, 2006
In this appeal, the appellants dispute the learned District and Sessions Judge, North Goa at Panaji’s judgement and award dated 9.07.1999 dismissing the appellants’ reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act in Land Acquisition Case No. 30/90.
2.) National Umbrella Factory vs Sharva Sharmik Sangh And Ors. on 24 January, 1967
National Umbrella Factory filed these petitions under Article 227 of the Constitution to set aside two awards made by an in dustrial tribunal on references under the Industrial Disputes Act.
As a result, Special Civil Application No. 1994 of 1966 is deemed unsuccessful and dismissed. The petitioner-firm will cover the respondent 1 union’s legal fees.
3.) Dr. Joao Filipe Do Rego And Ors. vs Dy. Collector (Dev.) And Land on 5 June, 2006
In this appeal, the appellants question the learned District Judge’s judgement and award in Land Acquisition Case No. 42/1990, dated 27.01.1997, in which the learned trial Judge dismissed the appellants’ reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act.
As a result, the appeal is granted. The case is remanded to the Reference Court with instructions to reconsider it in light of the foregoing considerations and in light of the Apex Court’s decision in the case of Cement Corporation of India Ltd. (Supra). In light of the learned Counsel for the appellants’ statement that the appellants will not present any further evidence and will instead rely on the documents already on file, for which no further proof is required, and since the Reference Court will decide the matter on those documents only for the purpose of determining the market value, the Reference Court will do so as soon as possible.
When his name was rejected by Congress for the position of Lokayukt of Gujarat, Justice Vyas became embroiled in a web of controversy. The applicant who was rejected in Gujarat was eventually chosen as the Lokayukt of Maharashtra. On August 21, 2007, he became the chairperson of the Maharashtra State Human rights Commission following his retirement.
Image Source: Hindustan Times/ Getty Images
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