Collegium recommends two Bombay HC judges as Chief Justices of Rajasthan, Himachal courts

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the name of Bombay High Court judge Justice S S Shinde as the new Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court. In the past few years, Justice Shinde has dealt with several important cases, including that involving Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, Elgar Parishad accused and former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh.

Currently, Justice Shinde is the third senior-most judge of the Bombay High Court, after its Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A A Sayed. The Collegium has recommended Justice Sayed as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. Justice Mohammad Rafiq, the present Chief Justice of the High Court, is likely to retire on May 24.

In November 2020, a Division Bench led by Justice Shinde had rejected plea of Arnab Goswami for interim bail in an alleged abetment to suicide case, asking that the application be moved before a Sessions Court for a decision within four days. Later, the Supreme Court granted relief to Goswami.

In the same month, Justice Shinde had granted relief to actor Kangana Ranaut in an FIR against her for alleged hate posts. The Bench led by him had questioned police over invoking Section 124-A (sedition) in the case and suggested that workshops be conducted for police officers on the same.

In December 2020, while hearing a plea by a Navi Mumbai resident over an FIR against him for alleged offensive remarks against CM Uddhav Thackeray, Justice Shinde had stated that a public office in a democracy has to face criticism and “ultimately, people have to find a balance between the rights of the entire society and individual rights”.

A Division Bench of Justice Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale had granted medical bail to Elgaar Parishad cases accused octogenarian P Varavara Rao on February 22 last year, observing that continued incarceration in this condition would amount to endangering his life.

The next day, the same Bench had granted bail to Areeb Majeed, six years after his arrest on charges of travelling to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS), citing right to fair and speedy trial, and observing that there was no likelihood of conclusion of the trial within a reasonable time.

On July 5 last year, when a Bench of Justice Shinde was informed by doctors of Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, that Father Stan Swamy, the Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, had breathed his last, Justice Shinde had expressed shock. He had also noted that the court had allowed him to remain in a hospital of his choice in his last days.

The same month, while hearing appeals by Swamy posthumously, Justice Shinde had remarked that the activist was a “wonderful person” and the court has “great respect” for his work. The National Investigation Agency had raised objections about the remarks, leading him to withdraw the same.

On July 22, Justice Shinde had dismissed former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s writ petition challenging the corruption FIR filed by the CBI against him. The court had also dismissed a separate plea filed by the Maharashtra government seeking to set aside two paragraphs from the CBI FIR.

On December 1 last year, a Justice Shinde-led Bench had granted default bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, but rejected the pleas of eight other co-accused for bail on similar grounds.

Justice Sayed was part of the Bench which while hearing pleas against “illegal” installation of loudspeakers at religious places in 2016 had passed orders directing the strict implementation of Noise Pollution (Regulations and Control) Rules.

Recently, Justice Sayed granted relief to Union minister and BJP leader Narayan Rane pertaining to the alleged illegal construction at his eight-storey Juhu bungalow.

Born on January 21, 1961, Justice Sayed obtained LLB from Mumbai University in 1984. He was on the panel of the Central government at the Bombay High Court.

Born on August 2, 1960, Justice Shinde obtained LLB from Marathwada University (now Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University) at Aurangabad and obtained LLM degrees from Pune University and Warwick University, United Kingdom.

He started practice as a lawyer in the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court in November 1989. In November 1995, he was appointed Assistant Government Pleader/ Additional Public Prosecutor of the Maharashtra government at the Aurangabad Bench. He worked as in-charge government advocate of Maharashtra at the Supreme Court from May 16, 2002.

He was elevated as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court on March 17, 2008.

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