M A I N   N E W S

Youngest HC Judge resigns
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 25
In the end, the lure of courtroom battles that he used to fight before being elevated to the Bench proved to be too difficult to resist. The lawyer in him, as always, won.

In a significant turn of events, the youngest High Court Judge in the country, Mr Justice Paramjit Singh Patwalia, today submitted his resignation, less than nine months after taking oath. He is expected to start practising at the Supreme Court of India soon.

He is the son of Justice Kuldeep Singh (retd), the last lawyer in the country to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court.

According to sources, he personally met the Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, and submitted his resignation letter. He also submitted copies of his resignation to the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Union Law Minister, Mr H.R. Bhardwaj, and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice Vijender Kumar Jain.

The reason that he has cited in his letter is that he was resigning due to personal reasons.

But talking to The Tribune, Mr Justice Patwalia gave the real reason: he was badly missing his profession.

“I was feeling that something missing. Then I realised I wanted to return to arguing in the court. That is why I have resigned,” he told this reporter.

Incidentally, Mr Justice Patwalia has not just given up a fledging career as a judge, he has also given up the successive offices that would have been his had he continued as a judge. For, he has age on his side. He is six months shy of 44 years, making even the post of the Chief Justice of India not beyond his reach.

“Who has seen tomorrow? All I am sure of is that I wanted to practise. This I will now start,” the judge said.

However, Mr Justice Patwalia, who had taken oath along with six others on March 22 this year as a permanent judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will not be able to practise at Chandigarh as the law debars a judge from practising at a high court where he joins as a permanent judge.

If Mr Justice Patwalia’s resignation is accepted, as is the likelihood, the Punjab and Haryana High Court will re-open after the New Year break on January 7, 2007, with Bench strength of just 36 judges.



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