Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Justice Manjula Chellur, retired from service today.
Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Justice Manjula Chellur, retired from service today. Chellur was the second woman judge to be appointed as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, the first being Justice Sujata Manohar. On her last day in office today, CJ Chellur thanked all litigants and lawyers present in her court room. “I have had the best time here. I have learnt a lot here from everyone, be it juniors or seniors…Thank you,” she said. She also pronounced judgements in two important matters today. While she struck down a proposal to hike the metro rail fare in the city, she also dismissed a petition by 63 Moons Technologies Ltd or Financial Technologies India Ltd opposing the merger with its unit National Spot Exchange Ltd. Justice VK Tahilramani will now take over as the Acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. Born on December 5, 1955, at Bellary in Karnataka, CJ Chellur went on to become the first woman advocate in Bellary, and then, the first woman judge of the Karnataka High Court. She was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court in 2012, and thereafter, transferred to Calcutta High Court. Chellur took charge of the Bombay High Court as its Chief justice in August 2016.
In her brief tenure that lasted for under 16 months, CJ Chellur presided over some crucial cases such as the bunch of pleas opposing the metro rail construction in the city, and another set of pleas seeking amendments to the Maharashtra government’s ‘Manodhairya’, or the victim compensation scheme. In both the matters, CJ Chellur took a stand for the citizens. She imposed reasonable restrictions on the metro work to ensure minimal inconvenience to citizens.
And in the Manodhairya case, CJ Chellur infamously reminded the state that it was “not doing charity” by providing medical aid and compensation to victims of rape and other crimes against women.
In compliance with her orders, the Maharashtra government went on to amend the scheme and also enhance the compensation amount under the same. CJ Chellur also undertook the task of streamlining the hearing and disposal of all Public Interest Litigations pending in Bombay HC.
Last month, she designated eight different division benches to hear PILs based on their respective expertise. This included a special all-women bench for PILs on issues related to women and children. To lessen the burden of pending litigation, CJ Chellur had ensured that the Bombay High Court was working one month of the two months long summer break this year.