Honorable Shri. Manoj Kumar Mukherjee was an Indian Jurist. He succeeded Justice P.D. Desai as the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court in January 1993. He served as the Chief Justices of the Bombay High Court and Allahabad High Court and former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was the head of Mukherjee Commission.
Justice Mukherjee was born on 1st December 1933. He attended the East Indian Railway School in Asansol for his education. After earning his B.Sc. and LL.B., he began practicing law in West Bengal’s Asansol Court in 1956 and then he started practicing in the Sub-Divisional and District Court and Labor Tribunal till 1971. On December 14th, 1962, his lord started practicing at the High Court. There at High Court Justice Mukherjee would mainly hear cases involving criminal appeals, criminal revisions, reference cases, habeas corpus issues, and other issues etc., the majority of which he had to do with industrial labor. His Lordship was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Calcutta High Court on June 17, 1977, then on December 8, 1977, he was elevated as a Permanent Judge. On November 12th, 1991, his Lordship was appointed Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court. From January 9 to January 1993, his Lordship served as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. His Lordship retired on December 1st, 1998 after being raised to the position of Judge of the Supreme Court of India with effect from December 14th, 1993. Justice Mukherjee passed away at the age of 87 in Kolkata hospital. During Mukherjee’s entire judicial career and his inning in the Bengal, Justice Mukherjee earned a lot of appreciation and respect from not only his peers but from entire legal fraternity for his uptightness and brilliance in his work.
Mukherjee Commission: After Justice Mukherjee’s retirement from the Apex court in 1998, Justice Mukherjee was appointed by the center government to become the chairperson of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Disappearance Commission for Enquiry in May 1999. The Mukherjee Commission inferred that Netaji did not die in the plane crash in 1945 and the ashes in Renkoji Temple in Japan was not of Netaji. According to the Justice M.K. Mukherjee Commission, Bose didn’t die in the plane crash, as claimed and the ashes in the Japanese shrine are not of Netaji either. The government tabled in the parliament and rejected his commission however. The government’s position was expressed in an action taken report (ATR), which was included with the three-volume report of the commission that the previous NDA government established in 1999 to look into the circumstances surrounding Bose’s departure from Bangkok in August 1945, his alleged death in an air crash, and related developments. But the administration didn’t explain why it didn’t accept the report in its ATR. The ATR, tabled by Minister of State for Home S Regupathy along with the panel’s findings, disagreed with the commission’s findings. According to the commission, it is not necessary to answer whether Netaji actually passed away in Faizabad (in Uttar Pradesh) on September 16, 1985, as some witnesses said, because there is no conclusive evidence to support this claim. The commission rejected various reports about Netaji’s death, one including the news that he was murdered at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 1945. In a statement following his death in a plane crash, it was stated that it had been shown that Netaji had been able to elude the Allied Force (during World War II) on August 17, 1945, after embarking at Saigon (in Vietnam) and getting out of their grasp. The entire make belief story of Netaji’s death and the cremation was designed by Japanese Army according to the report. The report has also stated that the government also failed to show the files and documents which might have helped to answer the questions. A Prime Minister’s office official also informed the panel that a file containing the agenda document and Cabinet decision on the probe into the events leading to Netaji’s death was destroyed in 1972 in course of routine review and weeding of old records.
The Shah Nawaz Khan Committee was also setup by the government in the 1956 to enquire about Netaji’s death and the majority view was that Netaji died in plane crash. Netaji’s elder brother Suresh Chandra Bose however, was of the view that he did not die in the plane crash. The government accepted the majority report. Another commission, established by the government in 1970 and led by retired Chief Justice of the Punjab High Court G.D. Khosla, similarly came to the same conclusion that Netaji had died from wounds incurred in a plane crash in Taipei and that his ashes had been sent to Tokyo.
Some Judgements by Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee-
In “University Of Delhi & Anr vs Anand Vardhan Chandal” the issue was raised whether the fundamental right to education also includes participation by the students in the student’s activities? Even though the High Court declared that the right to education is a fundamental right in response to the first part of the query. The supreme court further extended it. The High Court is of the view that once a student is accepted, the university has a responsibility to teach him or provide him with an equal opportunity to educate himself as other students. All students must be given an equal opportunity to participate in Union activities because they are an integral element of the overall education provided by the University. The students must therefore have a reasonable amount of time after being admitted to join the student union and participate in elections for membership. Therefore, the petitioner was denied the opportunity to exercise his or her fundamental right to education as a result of the University authorities’ first decision to set the start date of the year and second decision to reject the petitioner’s nomination document.
“Kumbhar Dhirajlal Mohanlal vs State of Gujarat on 4 October, 1996” is a case of domestic violence and it also comes under section 307 i.e., attempt to murder. The facts of the case are that the appellant poured kerosene on the victim who is also his wife and he threw a matchlight then afterwards. Upon seeing the wife set ablaze, the husband tried to extinguish the fire and because of that he also got himself burned. The husband in this case pleaded not guilty and, in his defense, he said that the wife accidently caught fire while cooking. The wife did manage to give dying declaration but which itself the court assumed would be painful enough. The court was of the opinion that only a shrewd person can set their wife on fire and then show an attempt to extinguish it. His appeal was rejected.
- CHIEF JUSTICE MR. MANOJ KUMAR MUKHERJEE, High Court of Bombay, https://bombayhighcourt.nic.in/cjshow.php?bhcpar=amdldGlkPTI2JnBhZ2Vubz0y
- Former SC judge Manoj Kumar Mukherjee passes away, ECONOMICS TIMES, (April 19, 2021, 11:13 IST), http://bombayhighcourt.nic.in/cjshow.php?auth=amdldGlkPTI2JnBhZ2Vubz0z
- Bose did not die in plane crash: Mukherjee Commission, Tribune News Service, (May 17) http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060518/main8.htm
- University Of Delhi & Anr vs Anand Vardhan Chandal (2000) 10 SCC 648
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