Born on 20-04-1961, Justice Sabina retires today after serving the legal fraternity for almost 5 decades. She was currently serving as the Acting Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. Justice Sabina was also recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan shall be taking over as the Acting Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court with effect from 20-04-2023.1
Justice Sabina was unanimously selected as the Joint Secretary of Bar Association of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1986. She was appointed as the Additional District Judge on 21-01-1997. Thereafter, she became the Sessions Judge in September 2004, was elevated as the Additional Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 12-03-2008 and became a Permanent Judge on 23-02-2010.2
Then Justice Sabina got transferred and assumed the office of Judge of Rajasthan High Court on 11-04-2016. She was transferred to the Himachal Pradesh High Court and took oath as the High Court’s Judge on 08-10-2021. Justice Sabina, had recently assumed charge as the Acting Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, on 21-01-2023.3
Regarding her seniority among the judges of the High Court, Justice Sabina was recommended for appointment as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court by the Supreme Court Collegium comprising of Chief Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, through a resolution dated 07-02-2023. However, she will be retiring without being appointed as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.
With Justice Sabina’s retirement, there are currently no women Chief Justices/ Acting Chief Justices in any of the High Courts in India. Earlier this year, Justice Sonia G. Gokani retired from the Chief Justiceship of Gujarat High Court.
Notable Decisions that Justice Sabina has been a part of
Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon v. Mir Singh, 2009 SCC OnLine P&H 8609
In a Civil Revision Petition challenging the closure of defense evidence by the Trial Court, Sabina, J. directed the Trial Court to grant one more opportunity to lead evidence at its own risk and responsibility.
Baljit Singh v. Karamjit Kaur, 2009 SCC OnLine P&H 7263
In a Civil Revision Petition in furtherance of a suit for recovery and future maintenance, Sabina, J. held that “Judiciary is respected not on account of its power to legalize injustice on technical grounds but because it is capable of removing injustice and is expected to do so. When substantial justice and technical considerations are pitted against each other, cause of substantial justice deserves to be preferred.”
Rajan v. State of Haryana, 2010 SCC OnLine P&H 6653
The Court denied bail and held that juvenile is liable to be released on bail, but in case there is reasonable ground that the juvenile might come in contact with any criminal, the benefit of bail can be declined to a juvenile.
Tara Chand Chopra v. State of Haryana, 2009 SCC OnLine P&H 512
Relying on the Kulwinder Singh v. State of Punjab, 2007 SCC OnLine P&H 792, the Court held that High Court has power under Section 482 of CrPC to allow compounding of a non-compoundable offence and quash the prosecution where the High Court felt that the same was required to prevent the abuse of process of any Court or to otherwise secure the ends of justice. This power of quashing is not confined to matrimonial disputes alone.
Ramavtar v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine Raj 871
In a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India wherein, the Petitioner’s case for release on parole was recommended by the Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Sabina, J. allowed the petitioner’s release on first regular parole for 20 days.
Mohammad Saeed v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine Raj 309
The full bench of the Rajasthan High Court comprising of Justice Sabina deliberated over the question that whether Urdu qualification awarded by Jamia Urdu Aligarh had a legal sanction behind it and is recognized for admission to higher course/employment in the State of Rajasthan?
Baldev Sharma v. Gopal, 2017 SCC OnLine Raj 3005
The full bench of Rajasthan High Court comprising of Pradeep Nandrajog, C.J. and Sabina and Vijay Kumar Vyas, JJ., held that Proviso to S. 372 of CrPC, cannot be read as conferred upon the victim a right to prefer an appeal against an order acquitting the accused or convicting the accused for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation. A victim has no right under the proviso to challenge the sentence on grounds of it being inadequate.
Guddo Devi v. State of H.P., 2022 SCC OnLine HP 3126
Allowing a writ of mandamus under Art. 226 of the Constitution, the Division Bench of Sabina and Satyen Vaidya, JJ. directed consideration of orphan certificate of the petitioner in the selection process for the post of Multi Task Worker at a Government school.
Ashwani Kumar v. State of H.P., 2022 SCC OnLine HP 2383
In a case of disengagement of Child Welfare Officer whose negligence resulted in 3 children from the Bal Ashram, Sujanpur going missing, the Division Bench of Sabina, J. and ACJ Satyen Vaidya refused to exercise extraordinary writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.