With air and rail passenger services suspended due to a COVID-19-induced lockdown, two judges have embarked on a road journey, each of them covering over 2,000 km, as they gear up to take charge as chief justices of high courts in separate corners of the country.
The judges — who were elevated to the position of high court chief justices only recently — hit the road amid the nationwide shutdown to ensure trials and justice delivery system do not go off the track.
Justice Dipankar Datta, a judge at the Calcutta High Court, is taking turns with son to sit behind the steering wheel, as the family moved to Mumbai, where he would be taking over as the new Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, sources privy to the development said.
Allahabad High Court judge Justice Biswanath Somadder, who has been elevated as the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, is driving to Shillong via Kolkata.
Justice Somadder, who had served at the Calcutta High Court before being transferred Allahabad, set out on the journey from the north Indian city along with wife on Friday evening in an official car, the sources said.
He had a chauffeur by his side, who took charge of the wheels from time to time. The judge reached Kolkata on Saturday afternoon, and left for Shillong in the evening, after a few hours of rest at his Salt Lake residence here.
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Justice Datta left for Mumbai from Kolkata on Saturday morning and plans to reach the country’s financial capital by Monday afternoon with overnight breaks on the way.
President Ram Nath Kovind had on Thursday elevated Justice Dipankar Datta, senior judge of Calcutta High Court, as the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, and appointed Justice Biswanath Somadder of Allahabad High Court as Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court.
Both Justice Datta and Justice Somadder were elevated as permanent judges of the Calcutta High Court on June 22, 2006.