THE Supreme Court Collegium, on Thursday, recommended the names of Gauhati High Court’s chief justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and the Gujarat High Court’s judge Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala for the elevation to the Supreme Court. The Collegium which comprises Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana and Justices U.U. Lalit, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao, has asked the Union Government to process the two names for appointments. If the Union Government clears the names of Justice Pardiwala, he will succeed Justice P.S. Narasimha as the Chief Justice of India on May 5, 2028. Justice Pardiwala will then have tenure as CJI till August 11, 2030.
Justice Dhulia hails from Uttarakhand. He is a second-generation legal professional who joined the Bar at Allahabad High Court in 1986 and shifted to his home state Uttarakhand on its formation in 2000. He was the first Chief Standing Counsel in the High Court of Uttarakhand and was later an Additional Advocate General for the State of Uttarakhand. He was designated as a Senior Advocate in 2004. He was elevated as the judge of the High Court of Uttarakhand in November 2008 and later became the Chief Justice of the High Court of Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh on January 10, 2021. In February this year, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dhulia upheld an Assam government legislation converting government-run madrasas to regular schools stating such state-funded institutions can’t impart religious instructions. If his appointment is cleared by the President, his tenure in the Supreme Court will last till August 9, 2025.
Justice Pardiwala is a fourth-generation legal professional in the family of lawyers. His father practiced law in the districts of Valsad and Navsar. He also served as the Speaker of the 7th Legislative Assembly of Gujarat for a brief while. Justice Pardiwala started practicing law in the High Court of Gujarat in 1990. He was elected as a member of the Bar Council of Gujarat in 1994. He was appointed as the Standing Counsel for the High Court of Gujarat in 2002 and held the office till the date of his elevation to the Bench on February 17, 2011. Justice Pardiwala has around 1012 reportable judgements on varied subjects. Last year, a bench headed by Justice Pardiwala expressed views against the marital rape immunity provided to the husband under the Indian Penal Code[IPC]. He said, “It is high time that a writ court undertakes the exercise of considering, whether the exception-2 to Section 375 of the IPC could be termed as manifestly arbitrary and makes a woman’s fundamental right to sexual autonomy subject to the whims of her husband,”.
In 2015, 58 Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament[MPs] had moved a petition before the Chairman and former Vice-President Hamid Ansari seeking the removal of Justice Pardiwala for his alleged remarks against reservation.
Justice Pardiwala, however, promptly expunged his remarks on an application by the state government. The Rajya Sabhja MPs petition against him was, as a result, not pursued by them.