Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar served in the Supreme Court of India for 4 years before he passed away on 24th April 2021.


Born on 5th May 1958 he attended the University Law College, Karnataka University, Dharwad. And enrolled as an advocate in September 1980. Justice Shantanagoudar practised law in Dharwad for a year before moving to Bangalore. Between 1999 and 2002 he was Karnataka’s State Public Prosecutor. In 2003 he was appointed as a judge to the Karnataka High Court and spent over a decade there. He was then appointed Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court on the 1st of August, 2016. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on the 17th of February, 2017.


We remember Justice Shantanagoudar’s judicial career by statistically looking at his term in the Supreme Court.


Justice Shantanagoudar’s retirement was meant to arrive in 2023 with his tenure lasting for 2 more years. This would’ve cemented him as a justice with an above-average tenure at 6 years. Only 8 other sitting judges have or are projected to have tenures longer than the average of 5.5 years.


Despite the short term of four years in the Supreme Court, Justice Shantanagoudar authored 136 judgements which is well above the average of 103 by the current sitting judges. Amongst his peers who have also served for 4 years, Justice Shantanagoudar has the highest number of judgements written. Justice Hemant Gupta comes second with 124.


Justice Shantanagoudar also wrote, on average, 34 judgements a year. As the graph above shows us, only 8 judges currently author judgements at a rate that surpasses that of Justice Shantanagoudar.


The late Justice authored 136 judgements and sat on the bench of 491 cases in which judgements were pronounced. In 27.7% of the cases, he sat in, Justice Shantanagoudar authored the judgement. In 2021 he wrote judgments in all the 8 benches he sat on. In 2019 he wrote 52 judgements in 113 cases where he was on the bench: he wrote judgments in 46% of cases while he was on the bench.


The largest portion of his judgements was regarding criminal (33%) matters with 45 authored judgements. The late Justice also authored a significant number of judgements in property (15.4%) and civil matters (6.6%).


In our other post, we looked at some of the most notable judgements of Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar’s career.