Biography of Justice Dipankar Datta

Dipankar Datta is an Indian Judge, who is the present Chief Justice of Bombay High Court and the former judge of Calcutta High Court. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court on 23 April 2020 by The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind and took oath on 28 April 2020. He is nominated by Sharad Arvind Bobde and is preceded by Bhushan Pradiumna Dharmadhikari. Being specialized in Constitutional matters and civil cases, justice Dipankar Datta has propounded various verdicts.

EARLY LIFE, EDUCATION AND CAREER

Born on 9 February 1965 in a Bengali family. Justice Datta is from a family with legal background where his father, Late Salil Kumar Datta was a former judge of the Calcutta High Court and his brother-in-law, Justice Amitava Roy is a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India. So Datta also had an interest of following his father’s footprints and that’s how he pursued law degree.

Being a student of the first batch of the 5 years law course of the Hazra Law college, University of Calcutta, he has completed his LLB in the year 1989.

On 16 November 1989, after completing his LLB, he got enrolled as an Advocate. Along with being a practising Advocate at High Court of Calcutta he worked as a State panel lawyer as well.

He also practised at the Supreme Court of India and other High Courts at other states of India. Datta was also acted as the Counsel for the Union of India since 1998. He had appeared on behalf of the School Education Department, University of Calutta, West Bengal Board in Secondary Education and the West Bengal School Service Commission. He was the Junior Standing Counsel for the State of West Bengal from 16 May 2002 to 16 January 2004. Datta was a Guest Lecturer in the Hazra Law College, the college where he acquired his law degree, from the year 1996 – 1997 to 1999 — 2000. He was elevated to the Bench of the High Court at Calcutta as a permanent Judge on 22 June 2006 and then appointed as Chief Justice of Bombay High Court on 28 April, 2020.

Some of the orders passed by Justice Dipankar Datta

  1. Maksud Sheikh Gaffur Sheikh v Maharashtra (28 August, 2020):

In this case, a full Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and R.K Deshpande and Sunil B. Shukre, JJ., answered an important question raised by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court with regard to,Whether a convict who has challenged his conviction under Section 374 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is entitled to the benefit of Section 436-A of the Code?’

The court held that whatever the benefit that is given under Section 436-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure can only be extended to an undertrial prisoner and not to a convict who has challenged his conviction under Section 374 of CrPC.

  • The Bombay High Court has imposed a cost of Rs.2 Lakh on Adani Electricity Limited payable to Mumbai Electric Workers while dismissing a petition in which the company claimed it was not covered under Maharashtra Industrial Relations Act, 1946.  A division bench of Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M.S.Karnaik observed that it was so ‘unambiguosly clear’ that the company was covered under the act that neither did BSES Ltd or Reliance Energy Ltd, that were in charge before Adani ever raise this as an issue.
  • Justice Dipankar Datta has played a major role during covid period, where the division bench of Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S Kulkarni on 20 May 2021passed the order directing the state to ensure that elderly citizens are not made to stand in queues and all those citizens who have confirmed their appointments through online registration should be given preference to walk in registrants at covid vaccination centres.
  • The Bombay High Court containing the bench of chief justice dipankar datta and justice G.S. Kulkarni has also  issued various guidelines for the effective implementation of POCSO i.e Protections of Children from Sexual Offences Act and also to make sure that the  child victims right of participating in the judicial proceedings is safeguarded. The bench also held that before hearing an application, it is the duty of the trial court to ascertain the status of service of notice. If, under any circumstance, it is found out that the SJPU i.e the Special Juvenile Police Unit failed to issue the notice, the trial court has the power to pass such reasoned orders that would help in securing the ends of justice and determine presence of emergent situations due to which victim had been absent.
  • ‘Our shoulders are broad enough to take criticism’ , the most inspiring and strong words said by Justice Dipankar Datta when a Public Interest Litigation  has been filed seeking contempt of court proceedings against political leaders, including Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray for ‘remarks against the judiciary’.

Not long ago, CJ Datta had noted,

“If it is personal liberty, lives are being lost, then we will intervene. Why is this political battle in High Court”

Justice datta made this observation in the context of a politician’s public interest litigation challenging the amendment to the rules for election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

In August last year, CJ Datta was heading Bombay High Court’s Goa Bench, which refused to initiate contempt of court action against a person for allegedly uploading contemptuous videos on YouTube and WhatsApp against members of the district judiciary at Goa.

The order noted that the power of contempt had to be “only sparingly exercised” and not to protect the dignity of the Court against insult or injury, but to vindicate the right of the people so that the administration of justice is not perverted, prejudiced and obstructed.

When most of the people fear to talk against politicians but justice datta, without any fear, made a remark on politicians in getting the COVID-19 vaccine at home, when the citizens are running to get the vaccine. Not impressed with such instances, the Bench asked the question  that if the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi can go to the vaccination centre to get the vaccine, then what is special with the Maharashtra leaders, who cannot do the same i.e. they got vaccinations at home. This question by the Justice Datta makes clear that how much he is concerned about Article 14 i.e Equality in India. This make him special.

Jusctice dipankar datta is a human with great personality, who became the chief justice of Bombay high court only due to his continuous effort and hardwork. He is an inspiration to all the aspiring law students who want to reach heights and give justice to all the citizens  irrespective of their social status.

Reference

  1. Hon’ble Chief Justice Dipankar Datta | Lawyers Update
  2. Bombay High Court Chief Justice Dipankar Datta: cSpotlight this week (barandbench.com)

Image Source: Live Law

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