Himachal Pradesh governor Urmila Singh on Thursday administered the oath of office and secrecy to Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar, who was sworn in as the 21st Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh, in a simple, but impressive ceremony on Thursday.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh were present on the occasion. Hailing from Pune in Maharashtra, he was appointed additional judge of the Bombay high court in March 2000 and confirmed as permanent judge in April 2002. He has been in the legal profession for the past 31 years.
Chief secretary Sudripto Roy conducted the proceedings of the ceremony. Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha Brij Bihari Butail, IPH minister Vidya Stokes, health minister Kaul Singh Thakur, transport minister GS Bali, forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, urban development minister Sudhir Sharma, excise minister Prakash Chaudhary, social welfare minister Dhani Ram Shandil and rural development minister Anil Sharma were also present.
Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and deputy speaker Jagat Singh Negi also attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Full court reference held
A full court reference was held in the high court on Thursday to welcome the new Chief Justice of the state high court. Justice Khanwilkar said all courts in India were grappling with the issue of docket explosion and therefore, this issue was not unique to the courts of the state. He urged the Bar and the Bench to work together not only on this issue, but also on largely unattended issue of docket exclusion.
“It is said less than 10% of disputes come to the courts for adjudication,” he added. He said the case management would assume relevance to achieve this goal, which could be successful only with the cooperation of the Bar members.