Justice Dipankar Datta

“Allowing a convicted parliamentarian to attend parliamentary proceedings could not only be derogatory to the dignity of the Parliament but also derogatory to the good sense and wisdom of the people who elected such parliamentarian”.

– Justice Dipankar Datta1

Born in a family of Judges, Justice Dipankar Datta grew up surrounded by Law, hence it was no wonder that he chose to advance in the legal field. Let’s look back to the trajectory of Justice Dipankar Datta’s life, his career as an Advocate and Judge in the High Courts of Calcutta and Bombay, and at his current role as a Supreme Court Judge, through his various decisions.

Early Life2

*Did you Know? Justice Dipankar Datta is a second -generation Judge3

Born on 09-02-1965 in a family with legal background, Justice Datta is the son of a former Calcutta High Court Judge, late Justice Salil Kumar Datta and brother-in-law of former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Amitava Roy.

Education and Advocacy4

Justice Datta obtained his LL.B. degree from the Hazra Law College, University of Calcutta in 1989 and was in the first batch of the University’s 5- year law course. He was enrolled as an Advocate on 16-11-1989. He worked as a Counsel for the Union of India since 1998 and as a Junior Standing Counsel for the State of West Bengal for two years.

During his 16- year tenure as an advocate, Justice Datta appeared for several educational authorities and institutions including the University of Calcutta, W.B. School Service Commission and W.B. Board of Secondary Education5.

*Did you Know? Justice Dipankar Datta had a brief stint as a guest lecturer at the University of Calcutta, where he taught Constitutional Law.6


He also served as a Judge of the Calcutta High Court from 22-06-2006 to 27-04-2020. Thereafter, he was elevated as the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court. He was further elevated as a Judge of Supreme Court on 12 -12-2022. Justice Datta is due to demit office on 08-02-2030.8

Important Supreme Court Judgments

  • In Ramesh Chandra Vaishya v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 668, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ was dealing with a case under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 when it went on to explain when an insult takes form of a ‘caste based insult’ and observed that, “If one calls another an idiot (bewaqoof) or a fool (murkh) or a thief (chor) in any place within public view, this would obviously constitute an act intended to insult or humiliate by user of abusive or offensive language. Even if the same be directed generally to a person, who happens to be a Scheduled Caste or Tribe, per se, it may not be sufficient to attract Section 3(1)(x) unless such words are laced with casteist remarks.” Read more

  • In Jini Dhanrajgir v. Shibu Mathew, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 643, whereby in a challenge against the Executing Court’s order finding the objections raised by the respondents maintainable during execution proceedings, the Division Bench of A.S. Bopanna and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. upheld the same considering the already settled law mandating the Executing Courts to determine all questions arising between parties related to execution, discharge, or satisfaction of the decree, which may not be adjudicated in a separate suit. Read more

  • In Afjal Ansari v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1676, while hearing an appeal against Allahabad High Court’s decision refusing to grant a stay on Bahujan Samaj Party member Afjal Ansari’s conviction in 2007 Gangster Act case, the three Judges Bench of Surya Kant*, Dipankar Datta**, and Ujjal Bhuyan, JJ. were called upon to decide a stay of Afjal Ansari’s conviction, during the pendency of his Criminal Appeal before the High Court. The Court by a majority of 2:1 granted him interim relief and suspended his conviction and restored his status as a Lok Sabha MP with certain conditions. Justice Dipankar Datta gave the dissenting opinion. Read more

  • Manoj Kumar Soni v. State of M.P., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 984, In a criminal appeal filed by two convicts against the judgment and order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, wherein the Court dismissed the appeals filed by the convicts against their conviction, the division of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ., while setting aside the impugned conviction orders, said that their convictions cannot be justified solely on the basis of illusory knowledge regarding their involvement in the crime. Further, it directed immediate release of the convicts from custody. Read more

  • In Unibros v. All India Radio, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1366, in an appeal by Unibros against the Judgment and Order of the Delhi High Court, whereby, the appellant’s appeal under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘Act’) was dismissed and the Single Judge’s order was affirmed, whereby the All India Radio’s objection under Section 34 of the Act was allowed resulting in setting aside of an arbitral Award wherein, a sum of Rs. 1,44,83,830 was awarded for delay in completing the work beyond the stipulated contract period, the Division Bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. dismissed the appeal for being devoid of merits and held that the arbitral award was in conflict with the ‘public policy of India’ as contemplated by Section 34(2)(b) of the Act. Read more

  • In Ameena Begum v. State of Telangana, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1106, in a criminal appeal against the Judgment and order of Telangana High Court, whereby appellant’s petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus was dismissed and the detention order of the husband was upheld, the Division Bench of Surya Kant, and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. quashed the High Court’s judgment. The Court also laid down certain tests for examination of legality of the order of preventive detention. Read more

  • In Asma Lateef v. Shabbir Ahmad, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 42 the Three-Judge Bench of B.R Gavai, Dipankar Datta* and Aravind Kumar, JJ. while upholding the impugned judgment and order, held that the decision rendered by a Court on the merits of a controversy in favour of the plaintiff without first adjudicating on its competence to decide such controversy would amount to a decision being rendered on an illegal and erroneous assumption of jurisdiction and, thus, be assailable as lacking in inherent jurisdiction and be treated as a nullity in the eye of law. Thus, the Trial Court had no authority to decree the suit against the respondent 4 in exercise of its power under Rule 10 of Order VIII, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’). Further, it said that the question of jurisdiction would assume importance even at the stage a Court considers the question of grant of interim relief. Read more

  • In Sheo Raj Singh v. Union of India, (2023) 10 SCC 531, the division bench of Bela M Trivedi and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. while interpreting the methodology in deciding application for condonation of delay, held that the expression “sufficient cause” is adequately elastic to enable the Courts to apply the law in a meaningful manner which subserves the ends of justice. The expression “sufficient cause” should be considered with pragmatism in justice-oriented approach rather than the technical detection of sufficient cause for explaining every day’s delay.

  • In Ramesh Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2023) 7 SCC 461, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. has disapproved of the practise followed by the Courts to direct deposit of amount as a condition for granting anticipatory bail for the offence of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

  • Santhosh Maize & Industries Ltd. v. State of T.N., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 764, In twin appeals challenging the orders passed by the Division Bench of the Madras High Court dismissing a writ petition and a review application by the appellant dealing in maize starch since 1975 and was registered under Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959, the Division Bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. concurred with the High Court to uphold the validity of clarification circular dated 8-10-1998 issued by the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes. Read more

  • In Supriya Jain v. State of Haryana, (2023) 7 SCC 711, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*. JJ, noted that the petitioner was also charged with offence under Section 180 of the Penal Code, 1860, (‘IPC’). The Court reprimanded the Deputy Superintendent of Police (‘DSP’) for not knowing that in terms of Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘Cr. PC’), no statement made by a person to a police officer in the course of any investigation under Chapter XII of the Cr.PC, which is reduced to writing, is required to be signed by the person making the statement. Read more

  • In State of Goa v. Summit Online Trade Solutions (P) Ltd., (2023) 7 SCC 791, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. held that the constitutional mandate of Article 226(2) of the Constitution is that the “cause of action” referred to therein, must at least arise in part within the territories in relation to which High Court exercises jurisdiction when writ powers conferred by Article 226(1) are proposed to be exercised, notwithstanding that the seat of the Government or authority or the residence of the person is not within those territories.

  • In Premchand v. State of Maharashtra, (2023) 5 SCC 522, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. held that every criminal court proceeding under Section 313(1)(b) of CrPC has to shoulder responsibility of scanning the evidence after the prosecution closes its case, to trace the incriminating circumstances in the evidence against the accused and to prepare relevant questions to extend opportunity to the accused to explain any such circumstance in the evidence that could be used against him. Further, taking assistance of Public prosecutor and the defence counsel in preparing relevant questions has to be real and not sham to make the effort effective and meaningful.

  • In State of Chhattisgarh v. Aman Kumar Singh, (2023) 6 SCC 559, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta, JJ. held that the proper course for High Court, in cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act would be to permit the investigation to be taken to its logical conclusion and leave the aggrieved party to pursue the remedy made available by law at an appropriate stage.

  • In Shah Newaz Khan v. State of Nagaland, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 2023, The bench of Hrishikesh Roy and Dipankar Datta*, JJ has explained the true import of Section 25 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 [‘CPC’] and has held that the same applies to inter-State transfer of a suit, appeal or other proceeding where both States have a High Court in terms of Article 214 of the Constitution and not to a transfer where both States have a common High Court under Article 231 thereof. Whereas, Section 24 of the CPC applies for inter-State transfer of a suit, appeal or other proceeding, if it is the common High Court for two or more States under Article 231 of the Constitution and both the Civil Courts (transferor and transferee) are subordinate to it. Read more

  • In Munna Lal v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 80, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. held that the charge that the convicts had committed murder was not proved beyond reasonable doubt; hence, they were and are entitled to the benefit of doubt. Thus, the Trial Court’s judgment of conviction and order of sentence being unsustainable, was set aside; consequently, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, upholding the conviction and sentence, too was set aside. Read more

  • In Godrej Sara Lee Ltd. v. Excise & Taxation Officer, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 95, the division bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta*, JJ. held that mere availability of an alternative remedy of appeal or revision, which the party has not pursued, would not oust the jurisdiction of the High Court and render a writ petition “not maintainable”. Further, it held that it is not the Assessing Authority’s orders but those passed by the Revisional Authority, which suffer from patent illegality. Thus, it invalidated the impugned final revisional orders for the Assessment Years 2003-04 and 2004-05 and made the interim order absolute. Read more

Notable High Court Judgments

We have curated the following notable decisions rendered by Justice Dipankar Datta during his tenure in the High Courts of Calcutta and Bombay:

  • In Nilesh Navalakha v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 56, the Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and G.S. Kulkarni, J. said that the duty of the media to have news items printed or telecast based on true and correct version relating to incidents worth reporting accurately and without any distortion or embellishment as well as without taking sides, cannot, therefore, be overemphasised and held that media-trials during criminal investigation to be an interference with the administration of justice, amounting to ‘contempt of court’ as per the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. Read more

  • In Pradeep Gandhy v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 662, the Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and S.S. Shinde, J. while addressing petitions filed against the burial of dead bodies of COVID-19 infected patients in kabrasthans, quoted Oscar Wilde to describe death and directed the State as well as the Corporation to ensure that all protective measures envisaged in the Government guidelines are strictly complied with not only by the members of the family of the deceased at the time of burial but also by those second-line workers who would, as part of their duty, deal with the cadaver of any suspected/confirmed COVID-19 infected individual immediately after death . Read more

  • In Jan Swasthya Abhiyan v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 713, the Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, C.J., and A.A. Sayed, J. while hearing petitions about facilities being provided during COVID-19 invoked portions of the speech – “Tryst with Destiny”, given by the India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on midnight August 14, 1947, to remind the authorities that service of India means the service of the millions who suffer, and observed that in view of the extraordinary situations emerging due to Covid-19, it is more imperative that the Government and the citizens, work together in order to put up a strong fight before the adversary that is Covid-19. Read more

  • Jalgaon Janta Sahakari Bank Ltd. v. CST, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 1767, the issue before the Court in the instant matter was that between a secured creditor (defined in SARFAESI Act and Recovery of Debt and Bankruptcy Act), and the revenue departments of the Central/State Governments, who can legally claim priority for liquidation of their respective dues qua the borrower/dealer upon enforcement of the ‘security interest’ and consequent sale of the ‘secured asset’. The 3 Judge Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ., and M.S. Karnik and N.J. Jamadar, JJ., while deliberating upon the question went on to frame and answer seven substantial questions of law on the issue. Read more

  • In Ruju R. Thakker v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 3707, the Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ., and M S Karnik J., directed Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to take urgent steps in fixing the potholes existing as on date as well as the State Government and MCGM to audit the performance of the erring road contractors responsible for the bad road conditions. Read more

  • In R.S. Madireddy v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 2657, the Division Bench of Dipankar Datta CJ., and M S Karnik J., held that the writ petitions although maintainable on the dates they were instituted, have ceased to be maintainable by reason of privatization of AIL which takes it beyond the jurisdiction to issue a writ or order or direction to it. Read more

  • In Nikita v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 1626, the Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ. and M.S. Karnik, J., took cognizance of a PIL which was filed bringing on record the unclean and unhygienic situation in the washrooms and toilets for the young girl students in Government aided schools. Read more

  • In Ratan Soli Luth v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 1806 a case relating to the refusal of the Governor to nominate 12 members to the Legislative Council for over a year, Justice Datta while interpreting Arts. 171 and 166 of the Constitution, held that while the Court is not empowered to direct the Governor under Art. 361, however, it is the duty of the Governor to communicate his reservations within a reasonable time, otherwise the statutory intent would be defeated.

  • In Gera Developments (P) Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 6839 while hearing petitions about the failure of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation to issue occupancy certificate and building completion certificate to multi-storied buildings, called the State government ‘Kumbhakarna’ for failing to take proper action at the right time.

  • In High Court on its own motion v. Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corpn., 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 386, Justice Datta disposed of a suo motu PIL pertaining to building collapses in Mumbai and directed the Municipal corporations to ensure that broken down structures are managed well in advance to avoid any deaths.

  • Justice Datta refused to entertain a PIL seeking guidelines for protection of members of Internal Complaints Committee set up by private companies under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act and asked the petitioner to approach Supreme Court, as the High Court did not have powers.9

  • In Rajendra Sadanand Burma v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 2026, while hearing a PIL seeking directions to authorities to take measures to curb death of tribal children due to malnutrition and other lack of facilities, Justice Datta noted that while the State authorities were concerned, some more efforts were required.

  • Justice Datta also ordered a preliminary inquiry against the former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in a corruption case.10

  • In Ganes Chandra Kundu v. State of W.B., 2014 SCC OnLine Cal 5110, Justice Datta directed the State Government to give opportunity to all the petitioners and other employees similarly situated to submit option to switch over to Pension-cum-Gratuity.

  • In J. Triveni v. State of West Bengal, 2010 SCC OnLine Cal 1692, Justice Datta allowed the petitioners to offer their candidature for direct recruitment from the bar to the cadre of Higher Judicial Officer in the rank of District Judge in the West Bengal Judicial Service, and said that the petitioners having dispatched the registered envelopes through the postal authorities in the manner required at least 48 hours before the stipulated time for receiving applications, they should not be made to suffer for any delay or laches on the part of the postal authorities.

  • In Sankar Datta v. State of W.B., 2013 SCC OnLine Cal 12183, Justice Datta held that availability of alternative remedy does not oust the jurisdiction of writ Court.

*Did You Know? Justice Datta played a significant role in ensuring home vaccination for the bedridden patients in Maharashtra, directing the State Government to introduce a mechanism for vaccination.11

1. Afjal Ansari v. State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1676

2. The Hon’ble Justice Dipankar Datta, Calcutta High Court

3. Justice Dipankar Datta, SC Observer

4. The Hon’ble Justice Dipankar Datta, Calcutta High Court

5. Calcutta High Court – Judges

6. https://www.sci.gov.in/judge/justice-dipankar-datta/

7. Justice Dipankar Datta, Bombay High Court

8. https://www.sci.gov.in/judge/justice-dipankar-datta/

9. PIL in Bombay HC seeks protection for POSH panel members, The Times of India.

10. Bombay HC Chief Justice Dipankar Datta elevated to Supreme Court, Hindustan Times.

11. Maharashtra to start home vaccination for bedridden people on trial basis; won’t wait for Centre’s nod: Govt to HC, The Economic Times

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