Bombay HC Gets a Chief Justice for 3 Days: What? Why? All You Need to Know

Chief Justice Dhanuka will attend court on Monday and retire on Tuesday. But something similar has happened before.

2 min read

Remember when Anil Kapoor had become ek-din-ka-CM in Nayak?

How about we told you someone recently became a teen-din -ke-Chief Justice. And unlike Nayak, this is not fiction.

In the latest dispatch of ‘stranger than fiction’, Justice Ramesh D Dhanuka was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court on Sunday, 28 May.

Justice Dhanuka will attend court as chief justice on Monday, 29 May and retire on Tuesday, 30 May.

Thus, Justice Dhanuka will be a Chief Justice for a total of three days.

But is this unprecedented? 

Not quite. 

In 2009, Justice Bilal Nazki was sworn in as Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on 14 November — a Saturday. As per an Indian Express report from that time, “As November 15 was a Sunday, Justice Nazki attended the office on Monday before retiring this (Tuesday) afternoon.”

So, quite like Justice Dhanuka, Nazki too was sworn in on a weekend, worked on a Monday and retired on a Tuesday. A blip of a tenure.

But coming back to Justice Dhanuka, why is this happening? 

According to Livelaw, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended Justice Dhanuka’s appointment as early as on 19 April.

Commenting on the condition of anonymity, an advocate on record (AOR) at the Supreme Court told The Quint:

“The Collegium wanted to give Justice Dhanuka a tenure of little over a month as CJ of the Bombay High Court . But it’s the delay on the part of the union government in notifying his appointment which has resulted in his tenure being a mere three days.”

And it does not look weird, “as it has more to do with deference to the seniority of the judge.”

After Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala - who has been appointed the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court -  Justice Dhanuka is the senior-most judge of the Bombay High Court.

But will a three day tenure even make any difference?

As per the AOR, “It is quite obvious that in three days he wouldn’t be likely to discharge any major judicial work. But now that he is retiring as CJ he will be entitled to pension, allowances or other benefits that a retired chief justice is entitled to.”

In any case, CJ Nazki is believed to have disposed about 100 cases on his last day of work. A court official even told The Indian Express that he was interested in disposing of more, but all the documents could not  have been readied by then.

More about Justice Dhanuka?

Ramesh D Dhanuka completed his LLB in 1985 and started working in the chambers of his father. He became a judge of the Bombay High Court on 23 January 2012.

(With inputs from Livelaw and The Indian Express.)

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