Justice Pritinker Diwaker, a distinguished legal luminary, has left an indelible mark on the Indian legal landscape. His journey, spanning over three decades, reflects a commitment to justice, a profound understanding of the law, and a tireless pursuit of excellence. From his early days as an Advocate to his current role as the Chief Justice of High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Justice Diwaker’s career has been marked by significant achievements and a steadfast dedication to upholding the principles of justice.
Early Life and Education
Born on 22-11-1961, Justice Pritinker Diwaker embarked on his legal journey by graduating in Law from Durgawati University, Jabalpur. His enrollment as an Advocate in 1984 marked the beginning of a career that would see him traverse various facets of the legal domain. His expertise extended to constitutional, civil, and criminal matters, showcasing a versatile understanding of the law.1
Notable Legal Engagements
Justice Diwaker’s legal acumen became evident through his representation of esteemed institutions such as SAIL, State Bank of India, Chhattisgarh Gramin Bank, Bank of Baroda, IDBI, Madhya Pradesh State Financial Corporation, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Raipur Dugdh Sangh, CBSE, and numerous municipal corporations. His role as the Standing Counsel for these entities demonstrated not only his legal prowess but also his ability to navigate complex legal issues.2
Recognition as Senior Advocate
In recognition of his exceptional legal skills and contributions to the legal fraternity, Justice Diwaker was designated as a Senior Advocate by the High Court of Chhattisgarh in January 2005.3 This prestigious title underscored his standing as a legal authority and a respected figure in the legal community.
Bar Council Memberships
Justice Diwaker’s commitment to the legal profession extended beyond the courtroom. He served as a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Bar Council for seven years and the State Bar Council of Chhattisgarh for five years.4 His active involvement in bar councils showcased his dedication to maintaining the highest standards of legal practice and professional ethics.
The pinnacle of Justice Pritinker Diwaker’s career came with his elevation to the bench. On 31-03-2009, he assumed the role of a Judge at the High Court of Chhattisgarh, where he continued his pursuit of justice and legal excellence, and he remained in this High Court till 02-10-2018.5 He was also appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Chhattisgarh.6
His contributions to the judiciary were recognized, leading to his transfer to the prestigious High Court of Judicature at Allahabad on 03-10-2018. In a testament to his leadership qualities and judicial competence, Justice Diwaker was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Judicature at Allahabad on 13-02-2023.
This interim role paved the way for Justice Diwaker’s official elevation to the position of Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. In its Resolution dated 09-02-2023, the Supreme Court Collegium comprising of Chief Justice of India Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph took into consideration the fact that Justice Diwaker is the seniormost puisne Judge at the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and is suitable to be elevated as Allahabad High Court’s next Chief Justice. Thus, the Collegium recommended his appointment for the post of Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.7
The Collegium’s recommendation got approval of the Central Government on 24-03-2023, when Justice Diwaker was appointed as 50th Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.8 Justice Diwaker took oath of office as Chief Justice on March 26-03-2023.
Notable Judgements by Justice Pritinker Diwaker
In a writ petition filed by an MBA student with a grievance that, though she had attended all the classes of Marketing Management in MBA (Media Management) course, but due to technical flaw in the portal, her attendance has been shown inadequate, Pritinker Diwaker, CJ. has directed that the petitioner be permitted to appear in the supplementary examination that was held on 16-11-2023 for the subject Marketing Management in MBA (Media Management) course. However, it said that her result should not be declared without prior permission of the Court and in the eventuality of the statement of the student being found incorrect, she will be subjected to pay heavy costs to the University.
The matter was listed on 14-1-2023 as fresh, before the appropriate Bench.
[Sanya Yadav v. State of U.P., Writ — C No. 39823 of 2023, Order dated 15-11-2023]
In a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the shortcomings and deficiencies in the running of childcare institutions, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker, CJ., and Ajay Bhanot, J., pointed out the shortcomings which need urgent attention and issued appropriate directions. Further, the Court directed the Principal Secretary, Women and Child Development Department, Government of U.P. to file a personal affidavit on 06-11-2023. The Principal Secretary was also directed to disclose the number of observation homes of different categories whether run by the Government or private agencies in the State o and with the aid of the Government and the number of children of different age groups residing in such institution.
[In Re: Suo Moto v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 2123]
In a writ petition challenging the illegality, propriety and correctness of the order dated 26-8-2023 passed by the Chief Engineer, Agra Development Authority, whereby the petitioner has been blacklisted and debarred from participating in any future tender-contract of the Agra Development Authority, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker, CJ. and Ashutosh Srivastava, J., set aside the impugned order, as the orders of blacklisting have been passed for an indefinite period which is not permissible under the law. Further, it said that a notice for blacklisting is required to specify as to what would be the consequence if the notice does not satisfactorily meet the grounds on which the action is proposed.
“The notice is required to state the grounds necessitating the action and the penalty proposed specifically and unambiguously and is also required to adhere to the principles of natural justice”
[Baba Construction (P) Ltd. v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 937]
In a PIL filed by the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh in respect of the lathi charge by the police on the lawyers at Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, with the prayer to issue suitable directions regarding the grievances referred to in the application dated 07-09-2023, preferred by the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, to be placed before the Special Committee to be constituted by the Chief Justice, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker, CJ. and Mahesh Chandra Tripathi, J., referred the said application of the Bar Council of UP to the Committee chaired by Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and consisting of Justice Rajan Roy, Justice Mohd. Faiz Alam Khan, Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh or his nominee; Chairman, Bar Council of UP and President, High Court Bar Association.
[In Re v. Bar Council of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 826]
In a PIL concerning the lack of action from the Kanpur Development Authority over land held for establishing “New Kanpur City”, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker, C.J. and Ashutosh Srivastava, J., said that the parties shall maintain status quo as it exists today. However, it shall be open for the Kanpur Development Authority to proceed with the negotiations with the tenure holders.
[Prantesh Narayan Bajpeyi v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 724]
In a petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India by the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, against the order dated 21-7-2023 passed by the District Judge, Varanasi directing the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (‘ASI’) to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque premises. Pritinker Diwaker, CJ.*, while dismissing the petition and upholding the impugned order, said that the Varanasi Court was justified in ordering for ASI survey of the premises as scientific survey is necessary in the interest of justice.
[Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi v. Rakhi Singh, 2023 SCC OnLine All 550]
In a batch of anticipatory bail applications placed before a Larger Bench on a reference made by a Single Judge, that whether a petition under Section 438 of the CrPC at the behest of child, in conflict with law, would be maintainable, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker, C.J. and Samit Gopal, J. held that there is no bar for grant of anticipatory bail to a child in conflict with law or a juvenile. Although Section 1(4) of the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act, 2015 (‘JJ Act’) begins with a non-obstante clause which operates in relation to Code of Criminal Procedure, but the same does not, in any manner, is inconsistent regarding the provisions of anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC for a juvenile or a child in conflict with law. But it is the discretion of the court concerned either to grant anticipatory bail or not, but the remedy of an anticipatory bail cannot be taken away from a juvenile or a child in conflict with law, if there is no specific bar to it.
[Mohd. Zaid v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 230]
In a public interest litigation, 7-Judge Bench of Pritinker Diwaker, C.J. Sunita Agarwal, Surya Prakash Kesarwani, Manoj Kumar Gupta, Anjani Kumar Mishra, Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, Mahesh Chandra Tripathi, JJ., while issuing notices, directed the lawyers to resume their work forthwith and to remove the contempt and warned that in case any hindrance is created by any of the lawyer or office bearers, then it would be viewed seriously.
[In Re v. Zila Adhivakta Sangh, 2023 SCC OnLine All 128]
In a public interest litigation owing to the continuous strike by the Kanpur Bar Association and the Lawyers’ Association, Kanpur, the 7-Judge Bench of Pritinker Diwaker, C.J. Sunita Agarwal, Surya Prakash Kesarwani, Manoj Kumar Gupta, Anjani Kumar Mishra, Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, Mahesh Chandra Tripathi, JJ. held that the notices and the other office bearers, prima facie, are in deliberate and willful contempt of this Court by interfering in the administration of justice, calling illegal strike since 16-3-2023 and thereby paralysing the judicial work in the district judgeship at Kanpur and they have made themselves liable to face contempt proceedings.
[In Re v. Zila Adhivakta Sangh, 2023 SCC OnLine All 130]
In an appeal against the order of Additional Sessions Judge convicting the appellant under Section 326-A of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and sentencing him for life imprisonment and fine, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker and Nalin Kumar Srivastava, JJ., set aside the impugned judgment and held that the convict is not guilty for the offence punishable under Section 326-A IPC.
The Court relied on Suchand Pal v. Phani Pal, (2003) 11 SCC 527, wherein it was held that, in case the evidence on record and in the facts and circumstances of the case shows that two views are possible, one pointing to the innocence of the accused and other to the guilt of the accused, the view which favors the accused should be preferred. The Court said that the Trial Court has erred in scrutinising and analysing the evidence on record and the finding in respect of the guilt of convict is perverse and not according to the law. Therefore, it granted benefit of doubt to the convict on the ground of rule of caution.
[Vimal Kumar Maurya v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 6]
A Division Bench of Pritinker Diwaker* and Ali Zamin, JJ., dismissed an appeal filed by the accused and held that the trial Judge was justified in convicting the appellants under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC.
Taking cumulative effect of all the facts and evidence it was held that the trial judge was justified in convicting the appellants as the Court found no substance in the argument of the defense that due to his physical condition the deceased was not in a position to make any such dying declaration.
[Vidya Ram v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 2265]
“A confidence inspiring dying declaration can even be the solitary basis for conviction without seeking any corroboration”: Allahabad High Court
The Division Bench of Pritinker Diwaker and Dinesh Pathak, JJ., affirming the sentence of conviction passed by the Sessions Court, observed that once a dying declaration is held to be authentic inspiring full confidence beyond doubt, voluntary, consistent and credible; in such sanctitude it can even be the exclusive and can be made the solitary basis for conviction without seeking any corroboration.
[Munni Devi v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 759]
Lodging of first FIR on the basis of a single case vis-à-vis Gangster’s Act, is valid and permissible: Allahabad High Court
The Division Bench of Pritinker Diwaker and Samit Gopal, JJ., deliberated over the question that whether a FIR under the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 can be lodged and is maintainable on the basis of involvement of the petitioner(s)/accused in a single previous case. It was held that as per the settled principles of law, the lodging of a first information report on the basis of a single case is valid and permissible. In a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, this Court cannot adjudicate the correctness of the allegations in the impugned first information reports or the cases on the basis of which the impugned first information reports have been lodged.
[Ritesh Kumar v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine All 515]
“Right to access anti-rabies vaccine with identifiable shelf life and its prompt administration is part of the fundamental right to life guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”
A Division Bench comprising of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, C.J. and Pritinker Diwaker, J., directed the State Government to support the families of unfortunate victims of animal attacks. The Court observed that to support victims of crimes by humans there is a victim compensation scheme under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Victims of animal attacks face similar situations as attack by human beings and hence in the absence of any specific schemes, the government should extend ex gratia help to a certain victim’s family whose child died of dog bite. The Court also gave the direction to the State Government to describe what action has been taken for dissemination of information to the public at large about such facility regarding the enormous rate of dog bites including stray dogs.
“Fundamental right to life in terms of Article 21 of the Constitution of India includes the right to health; which in turn, makes that person eligible to the protective cover by administration of preventive medicine and also by provision of appropriate curative medicines at the earliest, as and when required. In a welfare State, this right is eligible to be enforced to the extent of the States resources to provide. Timely administration of certain curative or preventive medicine like anti rabies vaccine is a life saving medication regime and to access such right is also a human right. It has also an inbuilt quotient of dignity of the individual which is a seminal constitutional value and human value.”
[Ashok Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2017 SCC OnLine Chh 460]
Mere presence as passer-by on the spot to see an incident would not make the person liable for formation of unlawful assembly: Chhattisgarh High Court
The Division Bench of Yatindra Singh, CJ., and Pritinker Diwaker, J., while deliberating over a murder case, observed that it is crystal clear that Constitution of unlawful assembly is a question of fact, and the prosecution is required to prove constitution of unlawful assembly and its common object. Unlawful assembly may be constituted at any moment and person may join unlawful assembly at any time, even at the time of causing injury, but the prosecution is required to prove the aforesaid fact by adducing cogent and reliable evidence that the persons have formed the unlawful assembly or joined in unlawful assembly having its common object for commission of the aforesaid offence.
[Ramchander v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2013 SCC OnLine Chh 210]
Chhattisgarh High Court declines to restrict the interpretation of R. 5 of Chhattisgarh Women Multipurpose Health Welfare (ANM) Courses Admission Rules, 2011
The Division Bench of Yatindra Singh, CJ., and Pritinker Diwaker, J., while dealing with the interpretation of Rule 5 of Chhattisgarh Women Multipurpose Health Welfare (ANM) Courses Admission Rules, 2011, held that it would be unfair to restrict the advantage of age relaxation to one category.
“In our opinion, the candidate is entitled to all age relaxation if she falls in more than one category of age relaxation”.
[Geeta Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2013 SCC OnLine Chh 102]
Right to admission in an educational institution leading to a qualification which allows one to practice a vocation cannot be curtailed without authority of law: Chhattisgarh High Court
The Division Bench of Navin Sinha, A.C.J. and Pritinker Diwaker, J., considered a constitutional question that whether Rules framed by the State Government for admission to the Bachelor of Homoeopathy Medicine and Surgery Course under Entry 25 of List III to the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, prescribing a maximum age limit of 25 years is ultra vires the Regulations framed by the Central Council for Homeopathy fixing a minimum age only of 17 years for admission to the BHMS Course under Entry 66, List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. It was held that the right to admission in an educational institution leading to a qualification which allows one to practice a vocation or profession after successful completion of the course cannot be curtailed without authority of law in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, subject to the law of reasonableness and arbitrariness.
[Maharana Pratap Homoeopathy Medical College & Hospital v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2014 SCC OnLine Chh 160]
Interference with the policy decision and issuance of a writ of mandamus to frame a policy in a particular manner are different: Chhattisgarh High Court
The division of Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, C.J. and Pritinker Diwaker*, J., deliberated over a PIL which was filed for seeking a direction to the respondents for complete prohibition of the sale of liquor in the State of Chhattisgarh and further to take all welfare measures in relation to the health and nutrition of the citizens of the State. It was held that it is a settled legal position that in the cases where such policy matters are involved, the Courts cannot issue a writ of mandamus asking the State Government to frame a policy in a particular manner as such exercise is not within the domain of the Court to legislate. of course, if a policy decision taken or a notification issued by the legislature or the executive, appears to be arbitrary, the frown of Article 14 of the Constitution of India can be put in operation. But in the case in hand, no policy as on date has been made by the State Government in respect of prohibiting the sale and consumption of liquor.
“…the interference with the policy decision and the issuance of a writ of mandamus to frame a policy in a particular manner are absolutely different. Issuance of notification regarding the manner in which the business of liquor has to be carried out in the State is well within its power. It is not within the domain of the Court to legislate by plunging into the policy making process or issuing a direction for making a particular policy in a specific manner.”
[Mamta Sharma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2017 SCC OnLine Chh 313]
Justice Pritinker Diwaker’s journey from a law graduate to the Chief Justice of High Court of Judicature at Allahabad is a narrative of dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to the principles of justice. His legacy serves as an inspiration for aspiring legal professionals and underscores the importance of upholding the highest standards of legal practice. As he bids farewell to one of India’s most esteemed high courts, Justice Diwaker’s impact on the legal landscape is sure to endure for years to come and inspire the young lawyers and legal professionals.
*Judge who has penned the judgment.
8. Justice Pritinker Diwaker appointed as Chief Justice of Allahabad HC, Department of Justice.