The Verdictum: Justice (Retd.) Anil R Dave

The Verdictum: Justice (Retd.) Anil R Dave

Aditya AK

Justice Anil R Dave was elevated to the Supreme Court of India on April 30, 2010. After serving a tenure of nearly seven years, or 2,394 days to be precise, Justice Dave retired on November 18 of last year.

He enrolled as an advocate in 1976 and was Solicitor for the Gujarat government. He was also a part-time Lecturer at Sir LA Shah Law College from 1976 to 1995. Justice Dave made the switch to the bench when he was appointed additional judge of the Gujarat High Court in September 1995. Two years later, he would be made permanent judge.

In 2008, he was appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, before being appointed as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court in February 2010. Justice Dave would then be elevated to the apex court two months later.

During his farewell function in November, a few interesting things were revealed about the judge, including the fact that he is an avid trekker and is qualified to be a Chartered Accountant.

Month-wise distribution of rulings

During his tenure, Justice Dave was involved in 574 reported orders and judgments, having authored 229 of these.

One interesting trend in Justice Dave’s monthly productivity graph is that he tended to pass more rulings during the second half of the year. The most productive months were September and August, with 95 and 81 rulings respectively. Apart from the month of June, the least productive months were May (19 rulings) and March (31).

Day-wise productivity

Justice Dave’s average productivity hovered around the 0.24 rulings per day mark, going as high as 0.45 rulings per day in September and plunging to 0.09 rulings per day in May.

Year-wise distribution of rulings

Justice Dave’s most productive year was his penultimate year in office, 2015, where he made 125 rulings. During the second year of his tenure, 2011, he made 109 rulings. However, he made as few as 56 rulings in 2014 and 65 in 2012.

YearNo. of Rulings

Bench-wise distribution of rulings

Dave J sat with more than 26 different Supreme Court judges during his tenure. Four of them were Chief Justices of India – TS Thakur, HL Dattu, RM Lodha and P Sathasivam JJ.

He sat with Justice Mukundakam Sharma as many as 127 times and with AK Goel J 89 times. He was part of a three-judge bench a whopping 86 times and found himself on a Constitution Bench 12 times.

Case-type distribution of rulings

A vast majority of Justice Dave’s rulings (461) were in civil appeals. He also decided on 51 criminal appeals and 26 civil writ petitions.

Notable judgments

Justice Dave ruled on a number of matters related to admission to medical and dental colleges. He is best known for his dissenting judgment in the NEET case, which he passed, even as Chief Justice Altamas Kabir’s judgment scrapping NEET created an uproar. In the review petition, a 5-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, subsequently, recalled the majority judgment delivered by Justice Kabir.

He was part of the Bench that dismissed the Bar Council of India’s challenge to the Legal Services Authorities (Amendment) Act, 2002, which introduced the concept of Permanent Lok Adalats.

He was also part of the Bench that heard the SEBI-Sahara matters and in a contempt petition, directed Sahara to deposit 500 crore.

In April 2015, he referred the challenge to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act to a Constitution Bench which would eventually strike the legislation down.

Along with Justices J Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph, he was part of the Bench that dismissed a review petition filed by Yakub Memon. In a subsequent petition filed challenging the dismissal of the curative petition in the same matter, Justice Dave and Justice Joseph were not on the same page. Hence, the matter was listed before another three-judge bench and Memon was sent to the gallows.

In the Uphaar tragedy case, he was part of the three-judge bench that held that the Ansal brothers would not have to serve any more jail time provided they pay Rs. 30 crore each, in light of their old age.

In the Satluj-Yamuna Link case, he was part of the five-judge bench that held the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 as unconstitutional.

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