Set to officially retire on February 24, Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog of the Bombay High Court served his last day in court on Friday, bringing his tenure of over 10 months as the chief justice (CJ) of the country’s second largest high court to a close.
Judges and staff bid him farewell with a guard of honour at the HC on Friday evening. The CJ had assumed office at the Bombay HC on April, 7 last year. During his tenure, a bench led by him ruled on several important cases.
Last July, while allowing petitions challenging the construction of the coastal road worth Rs 14,000 crore in Mumbai, CJ Nandrajog had held that environmental clearance was required for the project. Interestingly, during a hearing in the case, the CJ had made a caricature cautioning about the impacts of environmental violations.
On October 4, last year, a division bench of CJ Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre had refused to restrain the authorities from felling trees at Aarey Colony in Mumbai to make way for the construction of a Metro car shed. The bench also dismissed pleas seeking that Aarey Colony be declared a forest area.
After observing irregularities during the course of inspection of subordinate courts, CJ Nandrajog, last month, issued directions to all principal district and sessions judges in the state to follow court timings and ensure speedy unloading of judgments.
Born on February 24, 1958, he had obtained his bachelor’s degree in law from Delhi University in 1981 and was enrolled as an advocate the same year. CJ Nandrajog was elevated as a Delhi High Court judge in December 2002 and then as the chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court in April 2017.
With Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmahdikari’s resignation last week and CJ Nandrajog set to retire on February 24, the posts of top judges at the Bombay HC will soon fall vacant. While the current second seniormost judge, Justice Bhushan P Dharmadhikari, retires in April, the Supreme Court has recommended the transfer of Justice Ranjit V More, the third seniormost judge.
With the four seniormost judges either retiring, resigning or being transferred, the Supreme Court Collegium will also have to appoint a new chief justice for Bombay HC. Justice B P Dharmadhikari is likely to be appointed as acting CJ of the high court until further appointments are made.
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