Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala, more known as JB Pardiwala, the most feared of all judges of the Gujarat High Court who took the State Government to task for anything from mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis to the shocking pollution in the Sabarmati River, has been elevated as a judge in the Supreme Court.
This follows a recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium earlier this week. It was notified by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on Saturday. Gauhati High Court Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia has also been elevated to the apex court along with Justice Pardiwala.
His reputation was such that even the senior-most lawyer worth his salt had to burn the midnight oil to prepare their cases to present in “Pardiwala Saheb ni court.” Justice Pardiwala was a scare not only for the government and the lawyers but also for the politicians of all hues.
Justice Pardiwala, a native of Valsad and born in Bombay in 1965, is expected to serve at the Supreme Court until his retirement in 2030. A fourth-generation legal professional, Justice Pardiwala started in the Bar in 1989 and moved to the Bench in 2011, followed by his confirmation as a permanent judge at Gujarat High Court in 2013.
Known for speaking his mind in his observations and judgments, Justice Pardiwala faced a petition of sorts by as many as 58 members of the Rajya Sabha who wrote to the then Vice-President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari demanding impeachment proceedings against him for, according to them, his “unconstitutional” remarks against reservations in a case about Patidar leader Hardik Patel and others, where they had sought quashing of sedition charges against them.
Following this, Justice Pardiwala had expunged the remarks in the court. The judge had asserted that in his opinion, reservation and corruption are two things “that have not allowed the country to progress in the right direction”. These remarks were later deleted through a ‘speaking to minutes’ order.
The judge presided over criminal, civil, taxation and commercial matters, and has also adjudicated over environment-related issues, including taking up the issue of pollution of the Sabarmati river in a suo motu cognisance. Justice Pardiwala delivered a whopping 1,012 reportable judgments on varied subjects.
His observations created a huge scare in the Gujarat Government when in May 2020, he likened the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital to a “dungeon” and scoffed at the government’s claims that all was well on the Covid-19 management front.
Not only this, but Justice Pardiwala also took suo moto cognisance of several media reports highlighting the plight and issues of migrant labourers as well as the high mortality rate in the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. Some days later, the assertive judge was abruptly shuffled out of the bench with a roster change on the last working day of the week.
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