Justice Arup Kumar Goswami

Justice Arup Kumar Goswami, the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court is due to retire today after serving tenure of nearly 2 years as the High Court’s 14th Chief Justice. Thus, it is only appropriate for us to travel down the memory lane and take a look at Chief Justice Goswami’s extensive journey through life and law through the years.

Early Life and Advocacy1

Justice Arup Kumar Goswami was born on 11-03-1961 at Jorhat, Assam. He completed his graduation in Economics (Hons.) from Cotton College, Gauhati University in 1981.

Justice Goswami further obtained his LL.B. degree from Government Law College, Guwahati in 1985. He enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh on 16-08-1985, and practiced mainly in civil, criminal, constitutional and service matters.

Justice Goswami served as the Secretary General of the Gauhati High Court Bar Association from 2000 to 2001, and was designated as the Senior Advocate by the Gauhati High Court on 21-12-2004. He served as a Standing Counsel of the Gauhati High Court, Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Council and North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council. Justice Goswami also served as a Senior Standing Counsel representing the Education Department, Government of Assam.

Did you know? Justice Goswami is a cricket enthusiast and has represented Assam at Ranji Trophy. [He also represented the East Zone at the senior level, Under-22 and Under-19]

Judgeship and Chairmanship of various Legal Services Authorities2

Justice Arup Goswami was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Gauhati High Court on 24-01-2011 and became a Permanent Judge with effect from 07-11-2012.

Justice Arup Goswami served as the Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court from 06-09-2018 to 29-10-2018 and from 24-05-2019 to 06-10-2019. He was appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Sikkim with effect from 15-10-2019. He was transferred to Andhra Pradesh High Court and was appointed as its Chief Justice with effect from 06-01-2021. Later, Justice Goswami was transferred to Chhattisgarh High Court, where he was appointed asChief Justice with effect from 12-10-2021.

Did you know? Justice Goswami also worked as an Editor for ATMAN, a Biannual News Bulletin of the Gauhati High Court from 2018 to 2019.3

Furthermore, Justice Arup Kumar Goswami served as the Executive Chairman of Nagaland State Legal Services Authority from 01-04-2011 to 12-08-2013; as the Executive Chairman of the Assam State Legal Services Authority from 06-06-2018 to 14-10-2019; and as the Executive Chairman of the Arunachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority from 08-03-2016 to 14-10-2019.

Justice Arup Kumar Goswami was recently in news for inaugurating a 40-hour-long mediation training program for judicial officers and advocates in Bilaspur organized by Chhattisgarh State Legal Services Authority. At the inaugural event, Chief Justice Goswami said that “In the process of mediation, the mediator should use his knowledge, experience, and training in resolving the case considering all the aspects.” 4

Justice Arup Kumar Goswami’s retirement today, opens a vacancy for the position of Chief Justice of the High Court of Chhattisgarh. In anticipation of the vacancy, the Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the name of Allahabad High Court’s Justice Ramesh Sinha, as the 15th Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court.5

Notable Decisions by Justice Arup Kumar Goswami6

Chhattisgarh High Court reiterates power of relaxation for filling up the posts by promotion is within the exclusive domain of the State Government

In a writ petition filed for quashing of the notification dated 21.6.2016, whereby the State Government has amended the Chhattisgarh Secretariat Service Recruitment Rules, 2012 and added a new Clause 6 in Rule 13, the division bench of Arup Kumar Goswami, C.J. and Deepak Kumar Tiwari, J has observed that it is explicit that there is no malafide exercise of powers for extending relaxation by the impugned notification nor there was any occasion to issue conditional appointment order to such candidates who have not passed the Skill test and to give them two years’ time to pass the aforesaid tests. As 36 candidates had fulfilled the requisite conditions earlier, therefore, they were placed above the petitioners in the gradation list. There is no material to show that the State Government has exercised the power of granting relaxation with an oblique or unauthorized purpose. [Vidya Bhushan v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 1559, decided on 02-09-2022] Read more..

Chhattisgarh High Court | Art. 14 of the Constitution does not envisage negative equality; Grant of study leave to employees under probation, cannot be a ground for claiming negative parity in the teeth of R. 42(5) of Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 2010

A Division Bench of Arup Kumar Goswami CJ. and Rajendra Chandra Singh Samant J. dismissed the appeal and remarked that quality cannot be claimed in illegality.

The facts of the case are such that the writ petitioners were appointed to the post of Agriculture Teachers. At the time of appointment, the petitioners were pursuing PhD courses and as a result of obtaining an appointment, they could not pursue the Ph.D. course. A joint application was filed by the petitioners to allow them to pursue Ph.D. course and to grant leave without pay, but no response was given by the authorities. Thus, the petitioners approached and filed writ petition which was disposed of providing that the representation of the petitioners would be considered within a period of 15 days. Assailing this, instant appeal was preferred. [Lokesh Ahirwar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 757, decided on 27-04-2022] Read more..

Chhattisgarh High Court | Writ of habeas corpus is a writ of right, it is not a writ of course; a prima facie case of unlawful detention must be made

A Division Bench of Arup Kumar Goswami CJ and N K Chandravanshi J. dismissed the petition and declined to issue a writ of habeas corpus.

The facts of the case are such that the petitioner’s daughter’s marriage was solemnized with respondent 7 in the year 2011 because of love affair between them. They were blessed with a female child, but after some time, respondent 7 and his family members started raising suspicion alleging that she is suffering from an evil soul and used to torture her physically and mentally. A complaint was filed in police thana and during counseling, the husband and his family agreed to take Juhi with them since that day there is no information about the well-being of Juhi Sahu. Thus, an instant writ in the nature of habeas corpus was filed seeking directions to the respondents/authorities to produce her missing daughter, Juhi Sahu, before this Court. [Jaymati Sahu v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 737, decided on 22-04-2022] Read more..

Andhra Pradesh High Court| A representation submitted by a detenu, in the context of preventive detention, relates to the liberty of the individual, a cherished right enshrined in Article 21

In a petition filed in the nature of Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking the release of M. Ramdas, son of the petitioner, who is lodged in Central Prison, YSR Kadapa, and to set him free, after declaring his detention under Andhra Pradesh Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act, 1986 (for short, ‘the Act’), as unconstitutional and illegal, a division bench of Arup Kumar Goswami, CJ., and Praveen Kumar, J., directed the release of the detenue because there is unexplained delay in disposal of the representation, on account of which continued detention of the detenu would be unconstitutional and illegal. [M Nirmalamma v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine AP 256, decided on 17-02-2021]

[POCSO] Sikkim High Court | Delicate balance to be maintained between judicial perception of victim’s anguish and presumption of innocence of accused

A Division Bench of Bhaskar Raj Pradhan and Arup Kumar Goswami, JJ. while upholding the Judgment of acquittal passed by Special Judge (POCSO), held that,

A delicate balance is required to be maintained between the judicial perception of the anguish of the victim and the presumption of innocence of the accused and an inequitable tilt either way may not render sound justice.

[State of Sikkim v. Karna Bahadur Rai, 2020 SCC OnLine Sikk 33, decided on 14-03-2020] Read more..

Sikkim High Court | Criminal proceedings initiated under Ss. 186, 290 and 353 of IPC found non-heinous and quashed, as parties entered a compromise

In the present case, the respondent filed an FIR as the petitioner insulted the respondent, where there was a possibility of her getting hit. A case was registered under Sections 186, 353, 509 of the Penal Code, 1860. At the time of trial, the Sessions Judge held that there was no material to frame charge under Section 506 of IPC and the said petition was modified. The petitioner also filed a Private Complaint in a police station against the respondent which was pending in the Court of Judicial Magistrate. The respondent filed a revision application to stop the court from summoning her which was dismissed. Arup Kumar Goswami, CJ. quashed the criminal case under Section 482 of the CrPC. [Krishna Lall Timsina v. Kanu Priya Rai, 2019 SCC OnLine Sikk 196, decided on 02-12-2019] Read more..

Sikkim High Court | Maintenance under S. 125 of CrPC cannot be denied if the wife “commits adultery” but can only be denied if she is “living in adultery”

Arup Kumar Goswami, CJ., dismissed the petition against the refusal to pay maintenance to the wife because she allegedly committed adultery.

The parties were married to each other but had three daughters out of wedlock. The husband with the help of the second daughter threw out the wife alleging that she had an extramarital affair. The wife alleged that she was mentally and physically tortured by the husband and had to live with her brother. The second daughter stated that she witnessed her mother commit adultery as she was in a room with another man. The petitioner moved the High Court when the Family Court allowed the wife’s claim of maintenance. [Suk Bir Chettri v. Jamuna Chettri, 2019 SCC OnLine Sikk 185, decided on 08-11-2019] Read more..

Gauhati High Court | Unproved allegations maligning character of partner amount to cruelty as contemplated in S. 13(1)(ia) HMA; divorce decree granted to husband

A Division Bench of Arup Kumar Goswami, Acting CJ and Manish Choudhary, J. allowed an appeal filed by the appellant-husband against the order of the Family Court whereby his petition under Sections 13(1)(ia) and (ib) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking dissolution of his marriage with the respondent-wife was dismissed. [Debashish Choudhary v. Smiti Nibedita Choudhary, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 4415, decided on 24-09-2019] Read more..

Mustard oil does not come under the ambit of ‘agricultural produce’ and thus Cess cannot be levied on it: Gauhati High Court

A Division Bench comprising of A.S. Bopanna, CJ. and Arup Kumar Goswami, J. interpreted the meaning of ‘Agricultural Produce’ of Assam Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1972. [Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board v. Tinsukia Trading Co. (P) Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Gau 1581, decided on 08-11-2018] Read more..

Gauhati High Court| A third party questioning the marriage of any other party would not be entitled to maintain proceedings before the Family Court

In an appeal filed by the appellant-wife assailing the order passed by the court of the Principal Judge, Family Court-1 and seeking a declaration that the appellant herein is not the legally married wife of Lakshman Banerjee and, therefore, she is not entitled to make any claim, as a legal heir of Lakshman Banerjee, in respect of the properties left by him, a division bench of A S Bopanna, CJ., and Arup Kumar Goswami, J., held that the respondent herein is not the person who claims a declaration about his own marriage, but the contention put forth in the proceedings before the Family Court is that the appellant herein, Smt. Nitikona Banarjee, is not the legally wedded wife of his (plaintiff’s) brother, Lakhsman Banerjee, and thus, the parties to the proceedings are not parties to the marriage. Therefore, a third party questioning the marriage of any other party would not be entitled to maintain proceedings before the Family Court. [Nitikona Banarjee v. Ram Prasad Banarjee, 2018 SCC OnLine Gau 1577, decided on 01-11-2018]

Chhattisgarh High Court| 100% women reservation in favour of demonstrator, professor and principal post in nursing colleges as ‘unconstitutional’ 7

As per a report in Times of India, on the second last working day i.e. on 09-03-2023, a Division Bench of Arup Kumar Goswami, CJ., and Narendar Kumar Vyas, J., quashed the Note –2 of the Medical Education (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules, 2013, and held that 100% women reservation in favour of demonstrator, professor and principal post in nursing colleges as ‘unconstitutional’.

1. Justice A K Goswami, High Court of Sikkim

2. Justice A K Goswami, Chhattisgarh High Court

3. Justice A K Goswami, Sikkim High Court

4. Chief Justice A K Goswami, Times of India

5. Chief Justice A K Goswami, The Hindu

6. Justice A.K. Goswami, SCC Online Blog

7. Justice A K Goswami, Times of India

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