Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India
Assumed Office12th Dec, 2022
Retires On8th Feb, 2030
Chief Justice of the Bombay High CourtApril 28th, 2020 - December 11th, 2022
Permanent Judge of the Calcutta High CourtJune 22nd, 2006 - April 27th, 2020
Junior Standing Counsel for the State of West BengalMay 16th, 2002 - January 16th, 2004
Justice Dipankar Datta was appointed as a Judge at the Supreme Court on December 12th, 2022. The Collegium led by former Chief Justice of India U.U Lalit recommended Justice Datta for appointment on September 26th 2022. He is expected to serve as an SC Judge for 8 years before he retires in February 2030.
Early Life and Family
Justice Dipankar Datta was born on February 9th, 1965. A second-generation Judge, Justice Datta is the son of the late Justice Salil Kumar Datta, former Judge of the High Court of Calcutta.
Education and Career as an Advocate
Justice Datta began his legal practice in 1989 at the Calcutta HC after completing his legal education in the Department of Law, University of Calcutta. In 1998, he was appointed as a Counsel for the Union of India. Subsequently, in 2002, he became a Junior Standing Counsel for the State of West Bengal. He even had a brief spell teaching Constitutional law as a Guest Lecturer at the University of Calcutta between 1996 and 2000.
Career as a Judge
Justice Dipankar Datta started his career as a Judge in 2006 when he was appointed as a Permanent Judge in the High Court of Calcutta. His tenure in the Calcutta High Court lasted nearly 14 years before he was elevated as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court in April 2020.
The SC Collegium recommended his name for appointment as an SC Judge during an ongoing conflict between the Supreme Court and the Union Law Ministry. The rift occurred when the Union Law Minister expressed his disapproval of the Collegium system. The Centre took five weeks to appoint Justice Datta to the SC—a delay strongly criticised by the SC.
In Nilesh Navalakha v Union of India (2020), a 3-Judge Bench of the Bombay HC criticised the role of the media in reporting the Sushant Singh Rajput Case. They stated that the media should not attempt to interfere with a fair investigation and negatively effect the presumption of innocence. The Bench called for media agencies to differentiate between ‘media trials’ and ‘informative media’ in reporting cases.
In Agij Promotion of Nineteenonea Media Pvt. Ltd. v Union of India (2021) Chief Justice Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni heard a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the IT Rules 9(1) and 9(3). Rule 9(1) compelled media organisations to adhere to a Code of Ethics. Rule 9(3) allowed anyone to complain against these organisations if the Code of Ethics were breached. The Bench stayed Rules 9(1) and 9(3) stating that it requires publishers to follow other legislations that do not have any relation to the IT Rules or the IT Act.
In High Court on its own motion v Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corpn (2022), the Bombay High Court Court, heard a public interest petition in the Jilani Building Collapse case. The collapse claimed 40 lives. Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni passed Orders directing the Municipal Corporations in Mumbai to repair broken structures and buildings to avoid mishaps. The Division Bench also observed that the current housing conditions of Mumbai slums are in dire need of change.
In Shree Atma Kamal Labdhisurishwarji Jain Gyanrnandir Trust v Union of India, Chief Justice Datta directed Jain religious institutions to withdraw a Public Interest Litigation that sought to ban advertisements of non-vegetarian food. Justice Datta stated that such a ban could violate and encroach on other people’s rights and that the High Court was not empowered to impose such a ban.