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Posted at: Nov 24, 2017, 1:20 AM; last updated: Nov 24, 2017, 1:20 AM (IST)OBITUARY

For CJ Tewatia, principles outweighed position

For CJ Tewatia, principles outweighed position
Chief Justice DS Tewatia 1930-2017

Chief Justice Debi Singh Tewatia, one of the judges transferred out of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for delivering judgments not to the liking of the government during the days of the Emergency, passed away on Wednesday. His last rites were performed with full honour at Lodhi Crematorium, New Delhi, on Thursday afternoon.

A Chief Justice, an author and a man of conviction — that’s how Justice Tewatia was known in his circles. People remember him as an independent and a straightforward judge who gave more weight to his principles than position.

Justice Tewatia, 87, had to his credit more than 18 years of service as a judge, including six months and 17 days as a Chief Justice, before he put in his papers.

Justice Tewatia was involved in a field study on the Godhra carnage and had also penned “A Journey Less Travelled”, a book on his voyage from growing up years to attaining the esteemed position of the Chief Justice.

Justice Tewatia joined the Bar at Gurgaon District Courts in 1955. Two years later, he shifted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and was elected secretary of the High Court Bar Association in 1965.

He was appointed Haryana Advocate-General in May 1969 and held the position till February 1970. He was appointed additional judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in February, 1970, before being made a permanent judge in April, 1972.

His tough stand earned him a transfer to the Karnataka High Court in June, 1976. Justice Tewatia is believed to be one of the 18 judges across India transferred out of the parent high court for being on the wrong side of the government of the day.

He was transferred back to Punjab and Haryana HCand assumed the duties as judge in July 1977, before being appointed the Chief Justice in October, 1987. The order of his transfer soon after as the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court came when his daughter’s marriage was just a week away. He assumed charge of the office on November 2, 1987 and held it till May 2, 1988, when he relinquished the office after securing premature retirement. — TNS


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