Justice SS Shinde of the Bombay High Court on Monday urged young lawyers to sacrifice their private practice and accept judgeship whenever offered for the benefit of litigants and the judiciary.
On his last working day as the Bombay HC judge, Justice Shinde, who will be taking over as the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court later this week, recalled the cooperation received from lawyers during his tenure.
As he sat on a special bench with Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, senior lawyers, including Maharashtra Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh wished him success and praised him for his work.
ASG Singh said all the lawyers appreciated how Justice Shinde ”burnt the midnight oil” by sitting beyond the court hours on several occasions to conduct hearings and pass orders.
”Over the last 14 years, my lordship has devoted his time and service to this institution, literally burning the midnight oil. He has heard matters till 7.30-8 pm. Even if a matter was heard till late evening, the next morning, its order would be made available for us,” Singh said.
Justice Shinde, in turn, said he could do most of his significant work here because of the cooperation received from lawyers.
”The Bar has bright upcoming juniors, but there is one thing I would like to say. As and when the occasion comes, please do accept judgeship. Because at the age of 38-40, they (lawyers) are saying no to judgeship. They need to make some sacrifice for the litigants and judiciary,” Justice Shinde said.
”I want to give credit to the lawyers again because they are willing to work till 8:30 pm and even later. This inspires us (judges) and makes us think if they (lawyers) can work, why can’t we sit for extra hours?” he said.
Earlier this month, Union law minister Kiren Rijiju had praised Justice Shinde on Twitter after he learnt that the judge had presided over almost 200 cases on a single day and sat in the court hearing matters from 10.30 am to 8 pm while the office hours of HC end at 4.30 pm. ”I am very happy to learn that Justice SS Shinde of Bombay High Court had heard over 190 cases yesterday. He sat in the bench from 10.30 am to 8 pm!” Rijiju had tweeted along with the photo of his chamber, on June 10.
As a senior judge at the Bombay High Court, Justice Shinde passed several important orders. In November 2020, a division bench led by Justice Shinde had rejected television journalist Arnab Goswami’s plea for interim bail in the abetment of suicide case, stating the application should be moved before a sessions court for a decision within four days. Later, the Supreme Court granted relief to Goswami.
Justice Shinde had also granted relief to actor Kangana Ranaut in an FIR registered against her for alleged hate posts on social media. The bench led by him had questioned the police for invoking section 124-A (sedition) of the IPC 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 Maharashtra chief minister 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”.
It was Justice Shinde’s bench that had granted temporary medical bail to poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case.
His bench had also ensured that the late Jesuit priest and Rao’s co-accused Stan Swamy was shifted to a private hospital in Mumbai for medical treatment while his plea for medical bail remained pending for hearing. Swamy died on July 5, 2021, before an order could be passed on his medical bail plea.