Born on 01-03-1963, at Imphal, Manipur, Justice Nongmeikapam Kotiswar Singh, is the son of (Late) Justice N. Ibotombi Singh of the Gauhati High Court, who was also the first Advocate General of the State of Manipur1. Justice Kotiswar was sworn in as the 36th Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court2 on 15-02-2023. The oath was administered by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Manoj Sinha.3
Justice N. Kotiswar Singh was appointed as the Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court by the President of India on 12-02-2023.4 Earlier, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended his elevation on 13-12-2022.5
Justice Kotiswar completed his schooling from Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith, Purulia, West Bengal and Pre- University Course in Science from St. Anthony College, Shillong.
He graduated from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University with B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science in 1983 and obtained his Degree in Law (LL.B.) from Campus Law Centre, Law Faculty, Delhi University in 1986.
Justice N. Kotiswar Singh enrolled as an Advocate in 1986 under the Bar Council of Delhi and later transferred to the roll of the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. He also attended the Commonwealth Young Lawyers Course after selection under the University of London in 1992.
After practising before the Supreme Court of India for a brief period, Justice Kotiswar shifted his practice to Gauhati High Court. He also practised before the Central Administrative Tribunal (‘CAT’), Gauhati, District Subordinate Courts and various Tribunals in Manipur. Justice N. Kotiswar mainly practiced in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional and Service matters.
Justice N. Kotiswar Singh has served as the Standing Counsel for various institutions/ public undertakings and Government Departments including the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Manipur, Manipur Renewable Energy Development Agency (‘MANIREDA’), Manipur Board of Secondary Education, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, National Insurance Company Ltd., Allahabad Bank, Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. and Department of Electronics and Accreditation of Computer Courses (‘DOEACC’) Centre, Imphal. He also appeared before several Commissions in Manipur constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.
He served as the Advocate General of the State of Manipur from 03-11-2007 and was designated as a Senior Advocate on 31-03-2008 by the Gauhati High Court.7
Justice N. Kotiswar Singh was elevated to the Bench as the Additional Judge of the Gauhati High Court on 17-10-2011 and was sworn in again as the Judge of Gauhati High Court on 07-11-2012. He was appointed to perform the duties of the office of Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur8. Justice Kotiswar was transferred to Gauhati High Court on 11-10-2018 and was later appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court9.
Notable Decisions by Justice N. Kotiswar Singh
Abul Kalam v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Gau 2608
While interpreting the concept of Citizenship under the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 the Division Bench of N. Kotiswar Singh and Manish Choudhury, JJ. held that “Citizenship is one of the important rights of a person. The issue of citizenship of a person should be adjudicated on the basis of merit and on hearing the person concerned, which would also include ‘oral hearing’.”
Benjongtoshi v. State of Nagaland, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 5689
The instant matter pertains to the provisions of Nagaland Retirement from Public Employment Act, 1991 wherein, N. Kotiswar Singh J. held that the principles of natural justice need not be followed if termination of service is on the of implementation of logistic direction.
Ningombam Rameshwar Singh v. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, 2018 SCC OnLine Mani 20
While disposing of a Public Interest Litigation related to accidents at places storing highly inflammable materials, the Division Bench of N. Kotiswar Singh and K.H. Nobin Singh, JJ. restricted licences to anyone for construction of retail outlet or storage of any inflammable articles, as defined under the Petroleum Acts, 1934 as well as the Inflammable Substances Act, 1952 and the related Acts, till the State Government/relevant authorities frame such safety guidelines including specifying minimum area of open spaces between such storage sites and neighbouring buildings.
Union of India v. ThongamIbomcha Singh, 2017 SCC OnLine Mani 95
In an application for deleting the name of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India, N. Kotiswar Singh, ACJ. held that if the Union of India is deleted as a party respondent from the present proceeding, the writ petition itself may suffer from the defect of the non-impleadment of a necessary party, which may be fatal.
Moirangthem Boboi Singh v. District Magistrate, 2014 SCC OnLine Mani 166
In a challenge against detention under Section 3(2) of the National Security Act, 1980, the Division Bench of N. Kotiswar Singh and K.H. Nobin Singh, JJ. said that “it cannot be said that there was proper application of mind by the detaining authority while concluding that the petitioner, who was already under custody, was likely to be released on bail” and found the detention unsustainable in law.
Himadri Das v. State of Assam, 2011 SCC OnLine Gau 493
Deciding in favour of muster roll workers, N. Kotiswar Singh, J. held that an order passed in prejudice to the existing rights of a person, fair play and justice requires giving such person show-cause notice prior to passing such an order. It was further added that “Any decision which adversely affects the rights of a person should be informed with reasons.”
3. Kashmir Reader, Justice N Kotiswar Singh sworn in as 36th Chief Justice.