After outgoing Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog served his last day in office on Friday, the central government on February 24 notified the appointment of Justice Bhushan P Dharmadhikari, senior-most judge of the Bombay High Court, as Acting Chief Justice.
The Law and Justice ministry has notified the appointment with immediate effect, pursuant to the retirement of CJ Nandrajog.
Justice Dharmadhikari, who has served as Bombay High Court judge for nearly 16 years, will attain his retirement age of 62 on April 28 this year.
Born on April 28, 1958, Justice Dharmadhikari was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court on March 15, 2004 and was made permanent on March 12, 2006.
In July last year, a bench led by him upheld the death sentence of a 25-year-old man for the murder of his mother, wife and two-year-old daughter in 2012. While in June last year, the bench commuted the death penalty awarded to Ankur Panwar, the 26-year-old convicted for the acid attack and murder of Preeti Rathi in 2013. Justice Dharmadhikari in December last year directed the trial court to frame murder charges against eight police personnel in the Agnelo Valdaris custodial death case.
Last month, a division bench led by him refused to grant immediate relief to Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, promoters of New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV), against a showcause notice issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in an alleged decade-old violation of insider trading regulations. Justice Dharmadhikari will also pass a judgment on pleas filed by IL&FS former auditors Deloitte Haskins and BSR & Associates (KPMG arm) challenging the proceedings initiated by the Centre to ban them for five years for alleged connivance in the IL&FS scam.
Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari obtained his law degree from Nagpur University, presently known as Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj University, in 1980 and began his practice at Nagpur. Later, he joined the chambers of Advocate YS Dharmadhikari at Jabalpur for a brief period and then came back to Nagpur and worked under Advocate HS Ghare till 1984.
Thereafter, he began independent practice and appeared for government corporations, industries, unions and private clients across courts and tribunals.
He served as treasurer of High Court Bar Association for three years and worked as guest lecturer at Judicial Officers Training Institute, Nagpur from 1997.
With Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmadhikari tendering his resignation on February 13 and CJ Nandrajog’s retirement last week, the posts of top judges at the Bombay HC have fallen vacant. While the current senior-most judge, Justice Bhushan P Dharmadhikari, retires in April, the Supreme Court has recommended the transfer of Justice Ranjit V More, the second senior-most judge. With the four senior-most judges either retiring, resigning or being transferred, the Supreme Court Collegium will also have to appoint a new full-time chief justice for Bombay High Court.
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