October 19, 2021 2:02:18 am
Seven newly elevated judges to the Gujarat High Court took oath to their office administered by Chief Justice Aravind Kumar at the first court on Monday.
Apart from members of the Gujarat bar and bench, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General at the Supreme Court SV Raju, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and Gujarat Cabinet Minister of Law and Justice Rajendra Trivedi were also present during the oath-taking ceremony. Also present were Supreme Court judges Justices MR Shah and Bela Trivedi.
With the new judges, the working strength of the Gujarat HC goes up to 32 judges against the sanctioned strength of 52 judges. All the seven new judges, elevated from advocates, will be part of division benches of the Gujarat HC, according to the “modified list of sitting” ( of judges), effective from October 18 and issued by the registrar (judicial) on Sunday.
The seven new judges to assume office include Justices Mauna Bhatt, Samir Dave, Niral R Mehta, Hemant Prachchhak, Sandeep N Bhatt, Aniruddha P Mayee and Nisha Thakore.
Notably, as advocates in 2017, Justices Samir Dave, Niral Mehta, Hemant Prachchhak and Nisha Thakore were counsels representing various parties in a litigation moved by the father of murdered RTI activist Amit Jethwa, seeking a retrial against the accused persons, including former BJP MP from Junagadh Dinu Solanki, after 105 witnesses had turned hostile.
The Gujarat HC had ordered an in-camera retrial at the time. Then advocate Prachchhak was advocate on record for the aggrieved father, advocate Niral Mehta was representing the accused MP, Nisha Thakore was the additional public prosecutor in the case and then advocate Samir Dave had represented one of the witnesses who had claimed to have been threatened by the accused ex-MP Solanki.
Justice Mauna Bhatt, who has practised as an advocate for 30 years with her areas of focus being income tax, labour and service laws and has served as senior standing counsel for income tax department in Gujarat before the Gujarat HC, will join the division bench of first court headed by Chief Justice Kumar.
The bench will preside over PIL, filed 2020 onwards, except for PILs concerning environment matters, special civil applications which challenge the powers of an Act, special civil applications under the Land Acquisition Act, among other matters.
Justice Samir Dave joined the division bench of the second court headed by Justice RM Chhaya, which will deal with special civil applications pertaining to election matters, house of Parliament, state legislative Assembly and local authorities and criminal acquittal appeals.
Justice Niral R Mehta will be sitting in the division bench headed by Justice JB Pardiwala, with the bench dealing with matters and PILs relating to environmental issues, and matters concerning special acts like NIA, Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, among other matters.
The division bench headed by Justice Sonia Gokani will have Justice Hemant Prachchhak, who has held positions as assistant government pleader for Gujarat, and the bench will broadly deal with taxation matters and Justice Nisha Thakore, who has served as assistant government pleader and additional public prosecutor for the State of Gujarat, will be part of the division bench headed by Justice SH Vora, dealing with criminal matters.
Justice AJ Desai-headed division bench will also include newly inducted Justice Sandeep N Bhatt, presiding over criminal matters while Justice Aniruddha P Mayee, who was the advocate-on-record at the Supreme Court for the state of Gujarat, will be part of a division bench with Justice NV Anjaria, presiding over civil and other matters.
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