Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar

“Professionalism is not just about technical expertise. It’s also about demonstrating good habits that contribute to a strong work ethic. Living by ethics is not an option; it’s a necessity.”1

– Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar

Born on 25-02-1962, in the vibrant city of Bengaluru, Justice Pratinidhi Srinivasacharya Dinesh Kumar has carved an illustrious path in the corridors of law, marked by integrity, expertise, and unwavering dedication. His journey from a diligent student to a distinguished jurist serves as an inspiration to many aspiring legal minds.


Education laid the sturdy foundation for Justice Dinesh Kumar’s illustrious career. He attended National High School, Bengaluru, where he honed his intellect and quest for knowledge. Continuing his education, he pursued higher education at National College and BMS College, Bengaluru, where he honed his intellect and passion for the law.2

*Did You Know? Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar’s academic prowess was recognized early on when he was awarded the National Merit Scholar Certificate during his high school years.

Early Career3

After completing his education, Justice Dinesh Kumar embarked on his professional journey by commencing practice in the High Court of Karnataka in 1990. He commenced his legal practice in the esteemed chambers of Justice Shivaraj V. Patil, a luminary who adorned the bench of the Supreme Court of India. This period of apprenticeship under a legal stalwart not only enriched his understanding of the law but also instilled in him the virtues of diligence and ethical conduct.

Professional Achievements4

Justice Dinesh Kumar’s expertise and commitment to justice soon garnered recognition, leading to his appointment as Additional Central Government Standing Counsel in 1998, followed by elevation to the position of Senior Standing Counsel in 2003. His legal acumen found expression in various capacities as he served as Senior Panel Counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Senior Standing Counsel for prestigious entities such as BSNL, UPSC, UGC, AICTE, and NCTE.

His contributions extended beyond the realms of litigation, as he served as Standing Counsel for prominent state entities like Karnataka State Power Transmission Corporation (KPTCL), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM), and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), thereby playing a pivotal role in shaping legal precedents and governance.

Contribution to Alternative Dispute Resolution5

Not confined to courtroom battles, Justice Dinesh Kumar embraced alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, serving as a mediator and trainer in mediation, a testament to his holistic approach towards justice. His legal prowess found manifestation in numerous landmark cases across various High Courts and the Supreme Court, ranging from matters concerning the appointment of the Director of CBI to issues of national importance such as disinvestment of ITDC Hotels, defamation cases against Union Finance Ministers, corruption allegations against former Union Ministers and Chief Ministers, and pivotal policy matters including language policy debates within the state.

Elevation to the Bench

In recognition of his meritorious service and legal expertise, Justice Dinesh Kumar was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court on 02-01-2015, and subsequently as a Permanent Judge on 30-12-2016.6

Justice Dinesh Kumar’s judicial tenure reached new heights when he assumed the role of Acting Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court on 25-01-2024.7 The Supreme Court Collegium comprising of Dr Justice DY Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice BR Gavai, observed that he has been endowed with high level of integrity, honesty and competence and has served the High Court of Karnataka with distinction since his appointment and passed a resolution dated 19-1-2024, recommending the name of Justice Dinesh Kumar to be appointed as the 33rd Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.8

The Ministry of Law and Justice on 31-01-2024, notified the appointment of Justice Dinesh Kumar, by the President of India as the new Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.9 He assumed the charge as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court on 03-02-2024.10

Notable Judgements

While dismissing the writ petitions filed by G.R. Medical College Hospital and Research Centre challenging the disapproval of renewal of permission for 150 first year MBBS Seats for the academic year 2022-23 and re-location of 150 students in different colleges to pursue next academic year by the State Government, in G.R. Medical College Hospital & Research Centre v. Union of India,11 a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and T.G. Shivashankare Gowda, JJ., held that the petitioners were unable to provide any ground for Court’s exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and therefore, it answered this point in negative and against the college.

“150 students were admitted for 1ST year MBBS course for the academic year 2021-22. The permission for renewal has been disapproved by the NMC for the academic year 2022-23. This would place the career of the students enrolled in petitioner-College in jeopardy. Hence, no exception can be taken to the State Government’s action in re-locating the candidates in different colleges in the State to enable them to pursue their next academic year. Accordingly, we answer this point in the negative.”

While allowing the appeal against the judgment and decree passed by the civil court decreeing the suit for specific performance of contract against the trust, in Jamnalal Bajaj Seva Trust v. Parameshwara,12 a Division Bench comprising P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and T.G. Shivashankare Gowda, JJ., imposed an additional cost of 5 lakhs on the legal representatives of the respondents and held that the present case “is a classic case of speculative litigation causing huge loss of judicial time. The defendant Trust has been compelled to defend its cause for nearly 30 years. Therefore, in our considered view, this appeal deserves to be allowed with exemplary cost.”

In Stove Kraft (P) Ltd. v. Pradeep Stainless Steel India (P) Ltd.,13 an appeal filed against judgment and decree passed by civil court decreeing the suit and directing the defendant to pay a sum of Rs. 25,67,000/- with interest at 12% p.a., a a Division Bench comprising P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and T.G. Shivashankare Gowda, JJ., held that a summary suit is maintainable if it is based on a written contract. The Court held that invoices can constitute written contracts and that there is no requirement that the written contract should be signed by both the parties.

“It is not the requirement of the law that it should be a written contract signed by both the parties. What is necessary is that the suit should be based on a written contract. That, one can find in this case, in the form of invoices which were raised on the defendants along with delivery of the goods in pursuance of each purchase order.”

While considering a bunch of petitions, in Chandan NV v. State of Karnataka, 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 73, which had challenged the decision of the State Government to conduct fresh written examinations for all the candidates who had earlier appeared in the examination for the post of ‘Police Sub-Inspector (Civil)’ in the State of Karnataka on 21-01-2021; the Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and T.G. Shivashankare Gowda, JJ., refused to interfere with the decision of the State Government stating that the evaluation of academic achievement or the suitability of a candidate for public employment necessitates an examination process that adheres to principles of rationality.

“Rationality stands as a fundamental requirement within the realm of public administration. The decision to cancel an examination is an extreme step usually taken in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the examination process and to ensure absolute fairness to all the candidates both successful and unsuccessful.”

In Vodafone Idea Ltd. v. Dy. DIT (IT), 2023 SCC Online Kar 107, an appeal against the order of ITAT which uphled that the appellant is a TDS defaulter on payment for inter-connectivity usage charges (IUC) and bandwidth charges to non-residents by classifying the sum paid, a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and Ramachandra D. Huddar, JJ., set aside the impugned order and held that the Assessee-appellant is not liable for TDS on connectivity & bandwidth charges. The Court opined that “an assessee is entitled to take the benefit under a DTAA between two countries. Hence, the ITAT’s view that DTAA cannot be considered in proceedings under Section 201 of the Act is tenable.”

In PR Commissioner Of Income-1 Tax v. S Rashtreeya Sikshana Samithi Trust,14 the Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and T.G. Shivashankare Gowda, JJ., the assessee would be entitled to exemption, if the exemption of certificate is in force on voluntary donation or corpus funds for educational purposes.

In an appeal against the Tribunal’s order upholding order of Assessing Officer which held that assessee did not furnished any documentary evidence to prove the creditworthiness of the shareholder as he had declared a huge loss in the earlier years, in CIT v. Jaico Realtors (P) Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 155, a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and C.M. Poonacha, JJ., upheld the tribunal’s order on finding no ground to draw any contrary interference. The Court held that creditworthiness of Investor would not be doubted if he remitted amount lower than his net income

While allowing a writ petition against the Order passed by the Central Sales Tax Appellate Authority, New Delhi (CSTAA) in respect of demand notices from the Commercial Tax Department, Karnataka aggregating to Rs. 764.01 crores (including interest and penalty) for the tax periods April 2006 to June 2017 by treating the stock transfers of its Mangalore Plant as interstate sales to dealers, in BASF India Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1812, a division bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and M.G. Uma, JJ., quashed the impugned order of CSTAA and held that inter-state movement of goods from the manufacturing unit at Mangaluru to various depots in other States are merely ‘Stock Transfers’ and it is not a transfer of title to the goods during their movement from one State to other States.

In Diageo PLC v. SBI, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1688, an appeal against the order of DRAT directing the petitioner to make a pre-deposit of USD 35 million with the Registrar of DRAT within four weeks on the premise that petitioner is also a part and parcel of the main borrower to ‘some extent’, a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and C.M. Poonacha, JJ., noted that the Consortium of Banks can lay hands only on such money which Vijay Mallya can recover from his creditor and the true test is whether Vijay Mallya can obtain or obtained a decree against the petitioner on the strength of ‘Deed of Dis-agreement’. The Court answered negatively because the petitioner has already filed its claim in the Commercial Court in England. Therefore, the finding recorded by the DRAT that petitioner also is a part and parcel of main borrower is unsustainable and the impugned order directing the petitioner to deposit USD 35 million with the Registrar of DRAT as pre-deposit, is liable to be set aside.

In Bangalore International Airport Ltd. v. CIT, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1770, an appeal against the Tribunal’s order confirming Assessing Officer’s order that a fixed percentage i.e., 4% of the Gross Revenue amount payable every year as a concession fee to the Central Government by the assessee is a revenue expenditure not capital expenditure , a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and Umesh M. Adiga, JJ., held that the tribunal is correct to the extent that amount payable every year by the assessee was a revenue expenditure. The Court held that the assessee is entitled to claim depreciation on a concession or benefit that arises over a period of time as per the agreement and it will constitute an intangible asset.

In B.P. Mahesh v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1668, a Public Interest Litigation under Article 226 of the Constitution of India filed by the petitioner claiming to be the residents on and around Hare Krishna Road and opposing the construction of “Steel Flyover” on the “Hare Krishna Road”, a division bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and Anant Ramanath Hegde, JJ., held that the contracts involving technical aspects, the same are within the domain of technical experts and the court is only concerned with the decision making process, safety of road users and incidentally, with the cost of construction and timely completion of infrastructure projects.

“Creation of infrastructure is within the domain of Executive, which is the best Judge to provide need- based infrastructure from time to time. The project has been sanctioned in the meeting chaired by the State’s highest Executive namely the Chief Minister. Courts have a very limited role in a case of this nature only to decision making process.”

While dismissing, Archana Girish Kamath v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1477, a petition challenging the petitioner’s, a table tennis player, non-selection for the Commonwealth Games by the Committee of Administrators, Table Tennis Federation of India, a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and C.M. Poonacha, JJ., held that these are the matters within the domain of experts and in this case, the Committee of Administrators chaired by the former Chief Justice and two other eminent persons. The Court noted that “it is not in dispute that they have taken charge in February, 2022 and based on the opinion of the players’ parents, the Committee has decided to follow the old selection process till October, 2022. Based on the existing policy, the selection has been made.”

In State of Karnataka v. Network Solutions (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1704, a revision petition filed by the Revenue to consider whether the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal (KAT) is right in holding that the sale of goods stored in Inland Container Depots by the Respondent to its customers are effected by transfer of documents of title to the goods before the goods have crossed the customs frontiers of India, a Division Bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar* and C.M. Poonacha, JJ., held that the “KAT is the last fact finding authority” and since KAT has held that respondent has acted as an intermediary between the customer and foreign vendor CISCO and it has not independently placed any order on the vendor without referring the Purchase Order of the customer and though it appears as two distinct transactions, the same are integrally connected and form a single transaction, therefore, “the questions raised by the Revenue are answered in favour of the assessee and against the Revenue.”

In Manmohankumar VC v. State of Karnataka,15 while deciding the constitutionality of Amendment to Rule 13 of Karnataka Essential Commodities PDS (Control) Order, a single-judge bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar,* J., disposed of the petitions and upheld the State Government’s power and prerogative to impose conditions while considering the applications for grant of authorization. The Court observed that a person who deals with commodity distribution is required to have basic knowledge in arithmetic, Banking and liaison with public offices. The other conditions regarding age are also a matter of policy and the same is just and appropriate. Moreover, the condition of ‘pass in 10th Standard’ cannot be found fault with.

“It is desirable for the State Government to consider the cases of these writ petitioners, without reference to the restriction of ‘age’ and ‘pass in 10th Standard’ which shall be in parity with various orders passed by this Court in several writ petitions.”

In Amazon Seller Services (P) Ltd. v. CCI, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 12626, a single-judge bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar,* J., dismissed prayer seeking to restrain CCI from investigating into deep discounting practices and biased treatment of select sellers. The Court observed that order directing investigation be supported by ‘some reasoning’ which the Commission has fulfilled and thus held that it would be unwise to prejudge the issues raised by the petitioners in these writ petitions at this stage and scuttle the investigation.

In Devas Employees Mauritius (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 11971, a petition preferred with prayers to declare Section 272(1)(e) of Companies Act, 2013 (the Act) as ultra vires Constitution of India; and to declare that the second proviso to Section 272(3) of the Act, must be read to be applicable to the petitions presented by persons falling under Section 272(1)(e) of the Act, a single-judge bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar,* J., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits and held that “the sanction accorded by the Central Government does not meet petitioner with any Civil consequence. Devas has not challenged the sanction order. Petitioner has failed to demonstrate infringement of any rights enshrined in Part-III of Constitution of India.” The Court observed that It is settled that when a provision of law is challenged, Courts are required to exercise restraint and be cautious in striking down a provision. It was further observed that one of the most profound tenets of Constitutionalism is presumption of Constitutionality assigned to each legislation enacted. Indubitably, Parliament has competence.

In Rajesh Export Ltd. v. Canara Bank, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 923, a single-judge bench comprising of P.S. Dinesh Kumar,* J., ordered against the petitioner who filed the writ of Mandamus against Canara Bank in deferment of payment of Letters of Credit issued by the Bank at petitioner’s request in the light of Pandemic situation prevailing due to the COVID-19. The High Court dismissed the writ petition on two major grounds. Firstly, the Court found that Canara Bank had to continue with the payments of L/Cs on behalf of the petitioner as the bank was duty-bound to do so and since Canara Bank is fully bound by the RBI guidelines which permit only 90 days in respect of usance L/Cs issued for import of Gold. Secondly, the Court found that the petitioner had not made out a case that it had a legal right over the performance of a legal duty by the Canara Bank which is a necessary requirement for issuing a writ in the nature of Mandamus.

In BMTC v. S. Ganesh, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 243, while allowing a writ appeal filed against order directing reinstatement of a driver in service, who had been not reported to duty for almost two years, a Division Bench of L. Narayana Swamy, ACJ and P.S. Dinesh Kumar,* J., held that Unauthorized absence from service for a long period of time not a minor misconduct and is a ground for dismissal.

“It is settled that High Court while exercising power under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, shall not ordinarily correct mere error of facts or law unless the error is shown to be apparent on the face of the record or it is based on clear ignorance or utter disregard to the provisions of law. It is also settled that High Court shall not convert itself into a Court of appeal and indulge in re-appreciation of evidence unless a great injustice is demonstrated.”

Honoring a Legacy

Even though Justice Dinesh Kumar functioned as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court for roughly 22 days, he continued to uphold the principles of justice, fairness, and the rule of law. His leadership inspired a confidence in the judiciary and reaffirmed. its role as the guardian of constitutional values. His journey from a humble beginning to the pinnacle of judicial leadership exemplifies diligence, integrity, and excellence. His legacy serves as an inspiration for aspiring legal professionals and a testament to the enduring power of the law in advancing justice and upholding the rights of all citizens.

*Judge who has penned the judgment.

1. Upholding Ethics and Work Ethics: Justice Kumar’s Advice to Young Lawyers, BNN Breaking.

2. Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar, High Court of Karnataka.

3. Supra

4. Supra.

5. Supra.

6. Supra.

7. https://cdnbbsr.s3waas.gov.in/s35d6646aad9bcc0be55b2c82f69750387/uploads/2024/01/20240124998776043.pdf

8. Supreme Court Collegium recommends appointment of Justice PS Dinesh Kumar as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, SCC Times.

9. Justice PS Dinesh Kumar appointed as 33rd Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, SCC Times.

10. Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar, High Court of Karnataka.

11. WRIT PETITION NO.17254 OF 2023, order dated 11-01-2024.

12. R.F.A No.656/2013, order dated 13-09-2023.

13. R.F.A No.844/2010, order dated 23-08-2023.

14. ITA No. 554/2018, order dated 05-06-2023.

15. WP No. 13559 of 2020, order dated 23-12-2021.

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