Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari, the senior-most judge of the Bombay high court (HC), has resigned on account of some “personal and family reasons”. He tendered his resignation on February 11 with effect from Friday.
“I have resigned for the sake of my family. I am 61 (years old) now and want to be with my family,” justice Dharmadhikari told reporters on Friday.
His family includes his wife; a son, who is preparing for admission to a three-year law course; and a daughter, who is a graduate in industrial psychology and also has a post-graduate diploma in human resources.
On the topic of his elevation to the post of chief justice, justice Dharmadhikari said the discussion has been going on for over four months, since justice Vijaya Kapse Tahilramani resigned as the chief justice of Madras HC in October 2019.
“Certain developments, which were not known to me, took place in between, because of which I had to make the choice suddenly. I had no choice but to move to Odisha or resign.” He said he was offered the post of chief justice of Orissa HC, but his family did not want to move to Odisha.
He added that he, too, was reluctant to move to Odisha, primarily in view of the short tenure which is a little less than two years. Justice Dharmadhikari said that one needs at least six to eight months to settle down at a new place. “The place is new, people are different, work culture is different, practices are different,” he said, adding, “Today the situation is different, you (judges) may not remain where you are posted and could be transferred anytime.”
The justice also said that these days there is too much expectation from the judges, which in turn puts pressure on the judges. Claiming that senior judges were required to handle a lot of administrative work, he said, “Till today, I was heading 16 different committees and was part of six more committees,” he added. Dharmadhikari said while he did not mind the expectations and work pressure, he felt bad when the expectations were not fulfilled.
Speaking about his future plans, the justice said he will continue to live in Mumbai and be associated with law. He may take up arbitration, consultation and teaching as well.
The Bombay HC, as an institution, must remain as it is, he said. “It stands for the persons who have suffered injustice and it should continue to serve their cause,” he said, adding, “I hope this institution does not bend before the mighty state, the biggest litigant before it.”