Everyone was shocked when Justice Rohit Deo resigned in an open court on Friday. He is the second seniormost judge in Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court.
“Those who are present in the court, I apologize to each one of you. I scolded you because I wanted you to improve. I don’t want to hurt anyone of you because you all are like a family to me and I am sorry to tell you that I have submitted my resignation. I can’t work against my self-respect. You people work hard,” Justice Deo said.
The lawyers present in the court informed about his resignation in open court and the same was confirmed by the President of the High Court Bar Association at Nagpur Advocate Atul Pande.
While talking to the media houses, Justice Deo stated that he resigned due to personal reasons.
During his six-year tenure as a Bombay High Court judge, Justice Rohit B Deo delivered several significant judgments across diverse cases, sparking debates. Serving primarily at the Nagpur bench, he eventually rose to become the second most senior judge on the bench.
Justice Rohit B Deo served as a judge at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. Initially appointed as an additional judge in June 2017, he held the position of Maharashtra’s advocate general. Later, in April 2019, he was elevated to the role of a permanent judge, with his retirement set for December 4, 2025.
Justice Deo, heading a two-judge bench, presided over the high court’s decision last year to invalidate the conviction and life sentence given to former Delhi University professor Gokalkonda Naga Saibaba. The court cited issues with shoddy paperwork and faulty trial procedures employed by the lower court.
In April of this year, the Supreme Court overturned Saibaba’s acquittal and referred the case back to the Nagpur bench for a fresh decision to be made by a different panel. The top court also directed the high court to resolve the matter within a four-month timeframe.
Justice Deo issued a stay order last week, preventing the implementation of a Maharashtra government Resolution dated January 3. This resolution granted the state the authority to terminate punitive actions initiated by the revenue department concerning the unauthorized excavation of minor minerals by contractors involved in the construction of the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway.
In January, Justice Deo presided over a case involving a petition filed by a daily wage worker and activist named Lalan Kishore Singh. Singh challenged a notice issued to him by the Nagpur Police after he submitted an application under the RTI Act to inquire about the security arrangements at the headquarters of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur. During the hearing, the government pleader apologized to the petitioner in court and assured the bench that the police would not take any further action against him. Satisfied with this statement, the Court dismissed the petition.
In May 2020, Justice Deo expressed disapproval of the unusual and demeaning punishments inflicted by police officers under the pretext of enforcing Covid-19 lockdown measures. The court issued a directive, stating that no extralegal measures or punishments should be employed while implementing the lockdown.