Karnataka High Court gets new Chief Justice

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Justice P S Dinesh Kumar sworn in by Governor Gehlot

Justice Pratinidhi Srinivasacharya Dinesh Kumar took oath as the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court on Saturday, February 3, 2024. He was administered the oath of office by Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru. The ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil, and other dignitaries.

Justice Kumar is the 30th Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. He succeeds Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, who retired on January 31, 2024. Justice Kumar was transferred from the Allahabad High Court, where he was serving as a judge since July 2019.

Justice Kumar’s profile and achievements

Justice Kumar was born on February 25, 1962 in Bengaluru. He is an alumnus of National College and BMS College in the city. He obtained his law degree from the Bangalore University in 1989.

Justice P S Dinesh Kumar sworn

He started his legal practice in the High Court of Karnataka in 1990 in the chambers of Justice Shivaraj V Patil. He specialized in constitutional, service, and administrative matters. He also handled cases related to arbitration, taxation, and education.

He was appointed as an Additional central government standing counsel in 1998 and as senior standing counsel in 2003. He had also served as a senior panel counsel for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).

He had worked as a mediator and a trainer in mediation and appeared in several important cases in different High Courts and Supreme Court in matters concerning appointment of Director, CBI, dis-investment of ITDC Hotels, defamation case against the Union Finance Minister, corruption cases against former union minister and former chief minister.

He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court on January 2, 2015 and permanent judge on December 30, 2016. He was transferred to the Allahabad High Court on July 19, 2019.

Justice Kumar’s vision and challenges

As the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Justice Kumar will have to deal with several challenges and issues. Some of them are:

  • The pendency of cases in the High Court and subordinate courts. According to the latest data from the National Judicial Data Grid, the Karnataka High Court has over 2.5 lakh pending cases, while the subordinate courts have over 23 lakh pending cases. Justice Kumar will have to devise ways to expedite the disposal of cases and ensure speedy justice.
  • The vacancy of judges in the High Court and subordinate courts. The Karnataka High Court has a sanctioned strength of 62 judges, but only 38 judges are currently working. The subordinate courts have a sanctioned strength of 1,079 judges, but only 879 judges are in position. Justice Kumar will have to recommend suitable candidates for filling up the vacancies and improve the judicial infrastructure and facilities.
  • The implementation of e-courts and digitalization of judicial processes. The Karnataka High Court and subordinate courts have been using the e-courts system for filing, hearing, and disposing of cases online. However, there are still some gaps and glitches in the system that need to be addressed. Justice Kumar will have to ensure the smooth functioning of the e-courts system and enhance its accessibility and efficiency.

Justice Kumar has expressed his vision to make the Karnataka High Court a model court in the country. He has also said that he will work with the cooperation and coordination of the judges, lawyers, and litigants. He has also assured that he will uphold the independence and integrity of the judiciary and protect the rights and interests of the people.

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