On the 2nd of April, 2020, the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh received its first High Court Judge sworn under the Constitution of India. Justice Rajnesh Oswal was sworn in by the High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal and the ceremony was broadcasted via a web link keeping in mind the social distancing rules in place following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The ceremony was attended by various Justices of the J&K High Court, the Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, Advocate General D.C Raina and other dignitaries.
The High Court Registrar General Sanjay Dhar was present to read out the Warrant of Appointment and the Letter of Appointment issued by the President of India and the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir respectively.
Justice Oswal has had an illustrious career, having been a gold medallist in LLB Academics from Jammu University. He went on to represent big companies in the financial sector, specifically banks such as ICICI Bank, United bank of India, Yes Bank, Reliance Life Insurance and many others. His other notable postings have been with the Crime branch in Jammu where he remained as the standing counsel and even had a stint with the High Court Legal Services Authority, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.
Justice Oswal would be the ninth judge to be sitting in the J&K High court currently including the Chief Justice herself. The remainder of the Justices were sworn in under the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which lost it’s effect following the abrogation of Article 370, removing J&K’s special status and making it a union territory.
This new inclusion among the judges at the J&K High Court still leaves eight vacant seats to be filled. Despite the sanctioned number of seats being seventeen, there has been no movement in filling the thirteen permanent and 4 additional judges’ sanctioned seats to be filled.
Justice Oswal replaces the controversial Justice Rajesh Bindal, whose Court in September, 2019 was boycotted by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association after a meeting of the association was held regarding his “attitude/behaviour”. Justice Oswal would be replacing Justice Bindal only in the Division Bench no. 1 and Justice Bindal will continue as a part of the J&K High Court. A notification issued by the J&K High Court on 30th March, 2020 bringing in the change which would last until the “lockdown continues”.
Tags : Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Rajnesh Oswal