In a surprising development on Friday, Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari, senior most judge of the Bombay High Court resigned citing personal reasons. Justice Dharmadhikari broke the news in open court when Advocate Mathew Nedumpara mentioned a petition, he stated that today was his last day in office.
Speaking to journalists in his chamber, Justice Dharmadhikari said that he had resigned due to personal reasons because he did not want to leave Bombay as he was elevated as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court.
Justice Dharmadhikari stated that discussions about his elevation (as Chief Justice of Bombay High Court) had begun after Justice VK Tahilramani's elevation Chief Justice of Madras High Court. However, there were "certain developments" that were "not known to him" because of which he had to make a choice of either moving to Orissa as Chief Justice or to resign. He chose to resign.
Speaking about the short tenure he would have as Chief Justice of Orissa High Court (tenure would have ended in January 2022), he said-
"The place is new, people are different, work culture is different. You need at least six to eight months to settle down at a new place."
Bidding farewell to the bench that he was a part of for more than 16 years, he added -
"My hope is that the high court remains the same. It stands for the persons who have suffered injustice. It should continue to serve their cause.
Hope this institution does not bend before the mighty state, the biggest litigant before it."
Justice Dharmadhikari was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court on November 14, 2003 and delivered some of the most important judgements of the High Court in the past decade. He was a member of the Managing Committee of the High Court Library for the past several years. He was heading 16 different committees within the High Court and worked for eradication of Leprosy.
Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog is set to retire on February 24 as he turns 62. After Justice SC Dharmadhikari, BP Dharmadhikari is the senior most judge but he is also likely to retire in April 2020. This leaves Justice Ranjit More, as the next senior most judge, who according to Times of India has been transferred to Meghalaya HC.