SCO Daily: Hijab Ban Split Verdict Bookends Justice Gupta’s Tenure
SCO recaps Justice Hemant Gupta's life, career, judgments, and overall tenure at the Supreme Court.
After serving a tenure of nearly 4-years at the Supreme Court, Justice Hemant Gupta completed his last working day at the Supreme Court today. He is set to officially retire on October 16th. Justice Gupta began his career at the Chandigarh District Court before shifting to the Punjab & Haryana High Court. In the late 90’s he was an Additional Advocate General for the State of Punjab. In July 2002 he became a Judge at the same Court, where his father once served as Chief Justice.
He was a member of the High Court’s Computer Committee for over a decade and played a key role in introducing an electronic filing system for new cases, and digitising the High Court’s records. After over a year at the Madhya Pradesh High Court as its Chief Justice, he was elevated to the Supreme Court in November 2018. In June 2020, his leanings toward digitisation followed him to the SC where, along with Justices Chandrachud and Rastogi, he chose to put aside the mountains of paper files Judges usually bring to the courtroom. All three Judges heard cases and took notes entirely on their laptops. Justice Gupta’s Judge profile on the SCO website has more on his career and life.
Despite serving a shorter than average tenure, Justice Gupta wrote over 50 Judgments each year. This is more than all of his peers except Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah. Notable among these is his 2021 dissent where he upheld the Ordinance giving the Union government additional control over Tribunal administration, which the rest of the Bench believed would interfere with the independence of the Tribunal. SCO’s latest desk post discusses his tenure in numbers in detail.
The last Judgment of Justice Gupta’s tenure will probably define his legacy at the Supreme Court. On his penultimate day as a Judge, Justice Gupta upheld the Karnataka Hijab ban in educational institutions in a split verdict. Justice Gupta stated that the ban promoted equality among students from all religious communities and that the Karnataka government was well within its rights to impose a secular uniform.
To find out more about the most notable Judgments he wrote during his tenure, read this piece on our website. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on the Supreme Court. We hope you have a good weekend!