Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, a First-Generation Judge with a Legacy of Legal Excellence, retires

justice dinesh maheshwari

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari is a renowned Indian jurist who has made significant contributions to the legal system in India. Born on May 15-05-1958, in Udaipur, Rajasthan1, Justice Maheshwari has a distinguished career spanning over three decades in the legal field.

  • Did you know? Justice Dinesh Maheshwari’s father, late . R.C. Maheshwari was a prominent advocate in Jodhpur and his grandfather late Jagannath Kahalya was also a lawyer.2


Justice Maheshwari completed his BSc (Hons.) in physics from Maharaja’s College, Rajasthan University, Jaipur in 1977. He then went on to study law at the University of Jodhpur and obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree in 1980.

Career as an Advocate

Justice Maheshwari started his legal career as an advocate at the High Court of Rajasthan and enrolled with Bar Council of Rajasthan on 08-03-1981. He practised on original and appellate sides before Rajasthan High Court and its subordinate Courts and mainly dealt with civil and constitutional matters.3

Justice Maheshwari served as the counsel for Revenue and Excise Departments of Government of Rajasthan and for several local bodies and corporations. He had also been co-opted member on various disciplinary committees of the Bar Council of Rajasthan.4

Career as a Judge

After practicing for 23 years, Justice Maheshwari was elevated as a judge of the High Court of Rajasthan on 02-09-2004. He also served as Chairman of Rajasthan State Judicial Academy and as Administrative Judge of the High Court of Rajasthan.

  • Did you know? Justice Maheshwari hails from lawyers’ lineage and is a first-generation judge.

Justice Maheshwari was elevated as a Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and took oath on 19-07-2014. On 24-02-2016, he took oath as Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya.5 He was then appointed as Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka and took oath on 12-02-2018.6 Justice Maheshwari was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India by the collegium and took oath on 18-01-2019.

Important Judgments

Justice Maheshwari is known for his deep knowledge of the law, impartiality, and dedication in upholding the principles of justice. Throughout his legal career, he has gained a reputation for his exceptional legal skills and has presided over several landmark cases that have had a significant impact on Indian jurisprudence, and his opinions are often cited by other judges and legal scholars. Some of his prominent Supreme Court and High Courts judgements are discussed below.

Supreme Court

While exercising their appellate jurisdiction, the division bench of Dinesh Maheshwari* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ, in Thiru K. Palaniswamy v. M. Shanmugan, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 177, affirmed the Madras High Court order allowing Edappadi Palaniswami to continue as the interim general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagan (‘AIADMK’). The Court states that the courts should not interfere in the internal issue of a party and leave it open to the party and its members to take a particular decision for better administration.

In Isolators & Isolators v. M.P. Madhya a Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Co. Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 444, a writ petition challenging Madhya Pradesh High Court’s orders maintaining debarment and imposition of penalty against the appellant firm by Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Co. Ltd. (‘MPMKVVCL’), the Division Bench of Dinesh Maheshwari* and Sanjay Kumar, JJ. quashed and set aside the High Court’s order debarring the appellant for 3 years and restricted any kind of recovery of penalty from the appellant. The Court observed that the High Court had the opportunity to correct the obvious errors in its order, since one part of the matter was not even considered, and the other part also lacked requisite attention to contentions.

In Bhasin Infotech & Infrastructure (P) Ltd. v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 290, a Transferred Civil Case registered after withdrawal of writ petition filed in Allahabad High Court to this Court challenging order dated 24-1-2022 by Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (‘UPSIDC’) for not accepting proposal to convert the subject land (‘Grand Venice Mall’) from leasehold to freehold as per policy dated 6-11- 2013 amended on 3-5-2016, the Division Bench of Dinesh Maheshwari* and J.K. Maheshwari, JJ. found the petitioner company’s claim baseless since the impugned government policy came into effect much later and held that the order dated 24-1-2022 does not suffer from any infirmity, and that freehold rights cannot be granted against the terms of allotment and sale deeds.

In Prem Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2023) 3 SCC 372, a criminal appeal challenging the High Court’s confirmation of the Trial Court’s conviction and sentencing, the division bench of Dinesh Maheshwari* and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ. refused to grant the benefit of General Exception of unsoundness of mind under IPC in favour of the appellant and held that the prosecution’s case is amply established by cogent and convincing chain of circumstances pointing only towards the appellant’s guilt, who caused the death of victim children, his sons, by strangulation and caused the evidence of offence to disappear by throwing the dead bodies into the canal.

In Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1540, the 5-judge Constitution bench of UU Lalit, CJ and Dinesh Maheshwari, S. Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi, JB Pardiwala, JJ., has upheld the constitutional validity the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, which provides for 10 percent reservation in appointments to posts under the State and in admissions to educational institutions to economically weaker sections (EWS) of citizens. While Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela M Trivedi and JB Pardiwala, JJ wrote separate but concurrent opinions forming majority, S. Ravindra Bhat, J wrote the minority opinion for himself and U.U. Lalit, CJ. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that Reservation is an instrument of affirmative action by the State so as to ensure all-inclusive march towards the goals of an egalitarian society while counteracting inequalities; it is an instrument not only for inclusion of socially and educationally backward classes to the mainstream of society but, also for inclusion of any class or section so disadvantaged as to be answering the description of a weaker section. In this background, reservation structured singularly on economic criteria does not violate any essential feature of the Constitution of India and does not cause any damage to the basic structure of the Constitution of India.

In Pappu v. State of U.P., (2022) 10 SCC 321, where a man had brutally raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari* and CT Ravikumar, JJ has reversed the concurrent findings of the Courts below and has commuted the death sentence into that of imprisonment for life, with the stipulation that the appellant shall not be entitled to premature release or remission before undergoing actual imprisonment for a period of 30 years.

“The heinous nature of crime like that of present one, in brutal rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl child, definitely discloses aggravating circumstances, particularly when the manner of its commission shows depravity and shocks the conscience. But, at the same time, it is noticeable that the appellant has no criminal antecedents, comes from a very poor socio-economic background, has a family comprising of wife, children and aged father, and has unblemished jail conduct.”

While clarifying the law on leave to defend, the Division Bench of Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., in B.L. Kashyap & Sons Ltd. v. JMS Steels & Power Corpn., (2022) 3 SCC 294, held that even if there remains a reasonable doubt about the probability of defence, sterner or higher conditions could be imposed while granting leave to defend but, denying the leave would be ordinarily countenanced only in such cases where the defendant fails to show any genuine triable issue and the Court finds the defence to be frivolous or vexatious.

Also readExplained| Grant of Leave to Defend: The best approach”

In State of Haryana v. Daronacharya College of Engineering, (2022) 9 SCC 301, the Division Bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath, JJ., held that term “school children” will include college and university as well while interpreting government memo exempting passengers’ tax in respect of Stage Carriage (buses) owned by educational institution and used for the transportation of children to and from such institutions.

“It gets perforce reiterated that the broad expression “children”, obviously, refers to the students taking instructions in educational institutions, irrespective of their class or standard or level.”

In Union of India v. Raj Grow Impex LLP, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 429, a case related to confiscation of a large quantity of yellow peas imported from China, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari* and Krishna Murai, JJ., held that the goods in question are to be held liable to absolute confiscation but with a relaxation of allowing reexport, on payment of the necessary redemption fine and subject to the importer discharging other statutory obligations. Noticing that the personal interests of the importers who made improper imports are pitted against the interests of national economy and more particularly, the interests of farmers, the Court said, “When personal business interests of importers clash with public interest, the former has to, obviously, give way to the latter.”

While deciding Jaypee Kensington Boulevard Apartments Welfare Assn. v. NBCC (India) Ltd., (2021) 5 SCC 624, an application by the IRP Anuj Jain who was arrest in connection with an accident on the Expressway for not taking safety measures suggested by the IIT in its safety audit conducted in 2018 to reduce road accidents, said that it was “appalled to see” extreme step taken by Uttar Pradesh Police in the case. A Division bench comprising of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., directed the release of the applicant and further directed the Investigating Officer not to take any coercive action against him in connection with the subject F.I.R. until further orders. The Court also issued a show cause notice to the Investigating Officer, Bijender Singh, Sub-Inspector, as to why appropriate action is not taken against him for taking such drastic action against the applicant.

In Chandra Deepak Kochhar v. ICICI Bank Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 969, a 3-judge bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., refused to interfere with the termination of Chanda Kochhar as the Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank.

While enhancing compensation in Shoda Devi v. DDU/Ripon Hospital Shimla, (2019) 14 SCC 357, a case of medical negligence, the Division bench comprising of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that award of compensation cannot go restrictive when the victim is from poor and rural background and awarded Rs. 10 Lakh compensation to ‘send message’ to medical practitioners. The Court observed that “Such granting of reasonability higher amount of compensation in the present case appears necessary to serve dual purposes: one, to provide some succour and support to the appellant against the hardship and disadvantage due to amputation of right arm; and second, to send the message to the professionals that their responsiveness and diligence has to be equi-balanced for all their consumers and all the human beings deserve to be treated with equal respect and sensitivity.”

“The award of compensation cannot go restrictive when the victim is coming from a poor and rural background.”

A Division bench comprising of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., while dealing with the issue of proving of wills and when a will may be invalid and executed under suspicious circumstances in Kavita Kanwar v. Pamela Mehta, (2021) 11 SCC 209, held that “thick clouds of suspicious circumstances are hovering over the Will in question which have not been cleared; rather every suspicious circumstance is confounded by another and the curious case of the alleged third page of the Will effectively and completely demolishes the case of the appellant.”

While dismissing a petition by Additional District and Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli challenging the constitutional validity of certain rules and resolutions of Delhi high Court on criteria for appointment of a judicial officer to the post of District Judge and Sessions Judge, a Division bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., in Sujata Kohli v. High Court of Delhi, (2020) 14 SCC 58, held that grading of an individual officer remains a matter between the officer and the establishment, and it cannot be said that the high court has caused any prejudice to the appellant in the matter of ACR gradings. The Court stated that “Having regard to the circumstances of this case, we are impelled to observe that while raising grievances with regard to the impact and effect of ACR gradings, the appellant appears to have missed out the fundamental factor that for the promotions in question, an individual’s minimum merit, by itself, was not going to be decisive, but the relevant factor was going to be comparative merit of the persons in the zone of consideration.”

“The right to be considered for promotion is a fundamental right of equality of opportunity in the matter of employment.”

In Anuj Jain v. Axis Bank Ltd., (2020) 8 SCC 401, the Division bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that the lending banks of Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) were not the financial creditors and that the transactions in question were to defraud the lenders of the corporate debtor Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL). The Court stated that “…the transactions in question are hit by Section 43 of the Code and the Adjudicating Authority, having rightly held so, had been justified in issuing necessary directions in terms of Section 44 of the Code.” The Court directed the return of mortgaged land to Jaypee Infratech Limited.

High Court

While deciding whether the fashion show organised by the appellant, falls within the expression ‘entertainment’ and there had been ‘payment for admission’ to attract the relevant charging provisions of the Act, 1958, a Division bench of Karnataka High Court headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari in Dream Merchants v. State of Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1332, held that ‘fashion show’ falls within the expression ‘entertainment’ and hence liable to attract state tax.

In Anusha N. v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 2358, the Division bench of Karnataka High Court comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari, CJ. and S. Sujatha, J., while dismissing the PIL by the petitioner who had filed several criminal charges against her husband, held that the scope of public interest litigation cannot be widened to serve private interest in the pending litigation to being reforms in the justice delivery system. The Court stated that “The fundamental object of public interest litigation is to enforce fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions but not to set right the private dispute or to bring the parties to terms.”

“Public Interest Litigation cannot be used as a tool to wreck vengeance”

While deciding the issue whether the post of deputy chief minister is unconstitutional, a Division bench of Karnataka High Court comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari*, C.J. and Krishna S. Dixit, J., in Sekhar S. Iyer v. Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 3811, held that the post of deputy chief minister is not unconstitutional and a mere description of any minister in the council of ministers as a deputy chief minister does not confer any power of chief minister to such person. The Court observed that “…mere description of any Minister in the Council of Ministers as Deputy Chief Minister does not confer the person concerned with any powers of the Chief Minister and does not result in any unconstitutionality.” The Court further observed that there was no justification for filing the writ petition as a PIL and the petition filed by the petitioner is an example of “entirely frivolous, meaningless, unnecessary and unwarranted PIL petition in this Court and that too, by none other but a person who is engaged in teaching Business Law and is not oblivious of the legal process.”

In A.P. Ranganatha v. Chief Election Commission, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 3837, the Division bench of Karnataka High Court comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari*, CJ. and S. Sujatha, J., held that a decision to hold bye-elections in a vacant constituency on account of it being unrepresented for more than a year cannot be held invalid.

“Looking to the purport and purpose of Clause (a) of proviso to Section 151A of the Act of 1951, it is but clear that the period of one year as referred in Clause (a) is not referring to the term of the newly elected member after occurrence of vacancy, but the same refers to the remaining term from the date of occurrence of vacancy and that ought not be less than one year.”

In SCOPE v. Karnataka State Open University, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1568, Dinesh Maheshwari, J. while hearing a civil writ petition for appointment of arbitrator opined that termination of agreement does not automatically terminate the arbitration clause contained in such agreement.

“…where the parties stand at conflict and disputes do exist and looking to the terms of the agreement, it is just and proper that an independent arbitrator be appointed to adjudicate upon and decide the disputes between the parties, including their claims, counter claims and objections.”

Dismissing the writ petition filed by industrialist Vijay Mallya, a Division bench of Karnataka High Court comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna N. Dixit, JJ., in Vijay Mallya v. State Bank of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1733, held that DRAT’s requirement of pre-deposit for maintaining the appeal was legitimate. The Court stated that “This requirement cannot be construed as a pre-condition for restoring the appeal but has to be understood as the requirement of Section 21 of the Act for maintaining the appeal.” The Court while explaining the nature and effect of amendment to Section 21 of Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 observed that Section 21 of the Act of 1993 does not directly deals with the right of appeal but deals with the conditions, subject to which the said right becomes exercisable.

“…the right of appeal is a matter of substantive law; this right may be absolute or conditional, as may be provided by law that creates the said right; it is also well settled that the right of appeal although accrues to a party when the litigation originally commences, the same becomes exercisable after an adverse order is made against him.”

In Tenzing Choden Sherpa v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Megh 35, the Division Bench of Meghalaya High Court comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari*, C.J., and Ved Prakash Vaish, J., held that all Tibetans born in India after 26 January 1950 and before 1 July 1987, as per the Citizenship Act, 1955 are to be considered as Indians. The Court opined that the respondents were unjustified in denying the rights to the petitioners as citizens of India and such rights flow directly and unfailingly by the operation of the plain provisions of law i.e. by operation of Section 3 of the Act of 1955.

“Any decision by any Ministry cannot override the plain provisions of law nor any correspondence or any communication could do so.”

In RPSC v. Pushpa Panwar, 2010 SCC OnLine Raj 1529, a Division Bench of Rajasthan High Court comprising of Jagdish Bhalla, CJ., and Dinesh Maheshwari, J., held that once the petitioners are found lacking in the basic eligibility condition, there could arise no question of any direction for consideration of their candidature at any level or stage.

His Contribution and Achievements

Justice Maheshwari is known for his contributions to legal education. He has delivered lectures and papers on various legal topics at several prestigious institutions, including the National Judicial Academy, the Indian Law Institute, and the National Law School of India University. In one of his lectures “Strengthening of the Justice Delivery System: A synergy between Bar and Bench” at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, Justice Maheshwari explained the justice delivery system while using a cricket pitch as an example and highlighting the roles of bowlers, batsmen, fielders, and umpires. He said that “A lawyer must give up his ego in order to become a great lawyer and strive to excel only through hard work.”7

Justice Maheshwari has been an advocate for judicial reforms and is very vocal about the need for reducing the backlog of cases in Indian courts. In an event to commemorate 40 years of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), Justice Maheswari, who was a chief guest, said that the executive should implement its litigation policy in a manner that it “does not remain just a letter”. He said that “When we look at our litigation policy, we have to make those commitments there and particularly the mandates there that the government as a whole has to project itself and deal with the things as a responsible litigant rather than being a compulsive litigant.” Stressing on an equal responsibility on the Adjudicating Authorities, Justice Maheshwari said that the tribunals are required to deliver decisions in a manner as if they are the “last court” and “last recourse”. He said that “A judgement of tribunal with all clarity and bringing about finality in decision making will go a long way in reducing arrears or backlog of cases.8

Justice Maheshwari has a keen understanding of the social and economic issues that impact the lives of ordinary citizens and has consistently worked towards ensuring that justice is accessible to all. Addressing on “Sensitization of District Judges on Gender Justice and Differently abled victims/ survivors of sexual abuse” at a conference organised by Judicial Training and Research Institute (JTRI), Lucknow, Justice Maheshwari said that “The disabled victim needs special attention rather than sympathy. It is empathy which should be embedded in the approach of judging while dealing with disabled victims or survivors of sexual abuse. Judicial officers have to establish a fine balance in their approach, and they should neither be too compassionate towards the litigants nor should be devoid of compassion.”9

His Legacy

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari is a distinguished Judge who has made significant contributions to the Indian judiciary. His judgments reflect his deep understanding of the law and his commitment to justice and fairness.

Justice Maheshwari is a role model for young lawyers and a true inspiration to all those who believe in the rule of law. As a law student or legal professional, we can learn from him about the importance of clear and cogent legal analysis, reliance on statutory interpretation, precedents, and constitutional principles to enhance your ability to construct sound legal arguments and apply legal principles effectively. His judgments often reflect a concern for the marginalized and vulnerable sections of society, thereby educating us about the judiciary’s role in safeguarding human rights, upholding social justice, and addressing socio-economic inequalities. Moreover, his commitment to impartiality, fairness, and adherence to the rule of law serves as an inspiration for others and teach us about the importance of these values in shaping your own ethical approach to the legal profession. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of lawyers and judges in India.

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

Read More…

1. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Supreme Court of India

2. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Supreme Court of India

3. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Supreme Court of India

4. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Supreme Court of India

5. Notifications : Noti. No. G.S.R. 140, SCC OnLine

6. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari transferred as Chief Justice, Karnataka High Court, SCC OnLine Blog

7. Lawyer must give up ego to excel: Supreme Court judge, Hindustan Times

8. Government Should Be Responsible Not Compulsive Litigant: SC Judge Maheshwari, Outlook

9. Disabled victims of sexual abuse need special attention: SC Judge, Hindustan Times

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