Justice Rohit Deo of the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench, made a decision to resign in open court, citing personal reasons and a need to protect his self-respect. Making the announcement in his courtroom in Nagpur, where the high court has a bench, Justice Deo said he could not compromise on self-respect. He was scheduled to retire on December 4, 2025.
UPHOLDING SELF-RESPECT: JUSTICE DEO’S OPEN COURT RESIGNATION
Addressing the courtroom, Justice Deo expressed his sincerity and regret to the lawyers present, acknowledging that he had been strict with them at times only with the intention of helping them improve.
“I apologize to each one of you in this court. My intention was to push you all to become better. You are like family to me, and I am sorry to inform you that I have submitted my resignation. My self-respect does not allow me to work against it,” he explained.
Justice Deo revealed that he had sent his resignation letter to the President of the country, a decision prompted by personal circumstances. As a result of his resignation, all the matters scheduled to be heard by him that day were discharged.
NOTABLE JUDGMENTS: HIGHLIGHTS OF JUSTICE DEO’S IMPACTFUL TENURE
Throughout his six-year tenure as a judge at the Bombay High Court, Justice Rohit B Deo presided over numerous significant cases, some of which sparked debates. Primarily serving as a judge in the Nagpur bench, he eventually became the second senior-most judge in that jurisdiction.
FROM SAMRUDDHI EXPRESSWAY TO RTI QUERIES: JUSTICE DEO’S LEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS
One of his notable judgments came on July 26 when he stayed the operation of a Government Resolution (GR) concerning contractors of Samruddhi Expressway. He found substantial merit in the arguments against the GR, which granted immunity to contractors involved in illegal excavation of minor minerals for the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway project.
In another case, Justice Deo headed a bench that acquitted G N Saibaba, a sacked Delhi University Professor, who had previously received a life sentence over alleged Maoist links. The bench emphasized the importance of preserving every legislative safeguard available to the accused, even in the fight against terror, as these procedural guarantees are integral to the due process of law. However, the Supreme Court later overturned the verdict, returning the case to the High Court for reconsideration.
DNA TESTING IN RAPE CASES: A CRUCIAL VERDICT BY JUSTICE DEO’S BENCH
In April 2023, Justice Deo’s bench granted compensation to a woman worker who had suffered injuries in a tiger attack. The court criticized the forest authorities for negligently calculating the compensation and increased the amount substantially, considering the emotional trauma endured by the woman.
In December 2022, a division bench headed by Justice Deo emphasized the significance of DNA testing in rape cases, as it can not only exonerate the wrongly accused but also identify the guilty parties.
In May 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Justice Deo’s bench commended the overall efforts of the Maharashtra Police in ensuring proper implementation. However, they also warned some police personnel for allegedly meting out unusual and humiliating punishments under the guise of enforcing the lockdown, following a plea alleging human rights violations.