Sudhanshu Dhulia is a legal professional, who was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of India on 9 May 2022. He is the second judge to be elevated from the Uttarakhand High Court. Formerly, he served as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court (10 January 2021 – 8 May 2022).
Sudhanshu Dhulia was born on Wednesday, 10 August 1960 (age 62 years; as of 2022) in a small cantonment town of Lansdowne in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. His zodiac sign is Leo. Sudhanshu’s family has its roots in Madanpur, a remote village in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttrakhand. He did his schooling at Sainik School, Lucknow. Thereafter, he attended Allahabad University, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, to pursue his graduation. Sudhanshu graduated in 1981 and then pursued a Masters in Modern History (1983). In 1986, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law. Sudhanshu was a keen debater in his school and college days. He was also good at sports and actively took part in various sports competitions while he was in school.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Sudhanshu Dhulia’s father, Keshav Chandra Dhulia, served as a senior lawyer, an additional advocate general of the Uttarakhand government, and a judge at the Allahabad High Court. His mother, Sumitra Dhulia, is a retired Sanskrit professor, who taught at the Government Central Pedagogical Institute, Allahabad. He has two brothers, Himanshu Dhulia and Tigmanshu Dhulia. His elder brother, Himanshu Dhulia, is a retired Indian Naval officer. His younger brother, Tigmanshu Dhulia, is an Indian national award-winning film director.
Sudhanshu Dhulia is the grandson of Pandit Bhairav Dutt Dhulia, a freedom fighter, Sanskrit scholar and an Ayurvedacharya. He was also a politician, who served as an MLA from the Lansdowne constituency of undivided Uttar Pradesh. Besides that, he was also an active journalist, who was involved in the publication of the well-known Hindi newspaper Karmabhoomi from Kotdwar, Garhwal, Uttarakhand. Bhairav was sentenced to seven years in jail for his participation in the ‘Quit India Movement’ (he served a sentence in jail for about three years and was later released).
As a Lawyer
Sudhanshu Dhulia began his practice as a lawyer (Civil and Constitutional) before High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in 1986. As a part of the Bar Council of India, Sudhanshu worked as a solicitor for many prominent firms like the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.), Roorkee, State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd. (SIDCUL), and the Bhagirathi River Valley Authority. On the creation of the new State of Uttarakhand in 2000, he shifted his practice to the newly created High Court of the State of Uttarakhand, at Nainital and became its first Chief Standing Counsel. Later, he was appointed as the Additional Advocate General, and in June 2014, he was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Uttarakhand High Court.
As a Judge
In 2008, Dhulia was elevated from the bar to the bench and was appointed as the permanent judge of the Uttarakhand High Court on 1 November. On 7 January 2021, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.
Sudhanshu took the oath as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court (High Court of Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh) on 10 January 2021.
Meanwhile, he also served as the judge in charge of education at the Uttarakhand judicial and legal academy. On 5 May 2022, a 5-member Supreme Court collegium comprising Justices U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, and L Nageswara Rao headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana recommended the elevation of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala as Supreme Court judges. On 7 May 2022, Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala and Sudhanshu Dhulia were appointed as the Supreme Court judges, taking its total working strength to 34. The appointment letter of Justice Dhulia read,
In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of India with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.”
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana administered the oath of office to Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala during a function at the auditorium of the Additional Building Complex of the Supreme Court.
At the Supreme Court of India, Sudhanshu is a part of the Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit, the seniormost judge after the Chief Justice of India. Lalit is next in line to become the CJI as per the seniority norm.
As a judge of the Supreme Court of India, Sudhanshu Dhulia is entitled to a salary of Rs 2.50 lakh per month (as of 2022). In addition to salary, he is also entitled to certain other perks and facilities.
- Sudhanshu actively took part in theatre while he was in college. As a child, he was fond of watching films. Talking about Sudhanshu and Himanshu in an interview, Tigmanshu said,
When I was growing up, they were already quite older. I have only followed them. I have done what they did. Sudhanji theatre karne lage they toh main bhi theatre karne laga tha. Ye log university me padhte the. Ye log pairon pe khade ho gaye aur main theatre me hee laga raha. Yahi log filme dikhate the, fir main filmein banane lag gaya. Yahi kahani hai mere paas .”
- During an interview, Advocate General for Assam Devajit Saikia recollected the day when Justice Dhulia took over the reins at the Gauhati High Court and said,
He came when we were in the midst of the pandemic. It was a very challenging time in the Gauhati High Court. It was not a normal situation when he had to manage the administrative functioning of the courts.”
The judge adopted “courageous” steps in order to allow the functioning of the courts in the subordinate judiciary as well as the High Court, in a manner by which both the rights of lawyers and judicial officers as well as the interest of litigants were safeguarded.”
- In an interview, a top law officer from Assam termed Sudhanshu as a compassionate judge. Talking about Sudhanshu, he said,
That’s why he is very popular among advocates. He never gave importance to face value. He heard the junior advocate and new entrants, and in the same manner, he heard a lawyer of high stature in the Gauhati High Court; there was no distinction. I feel he genuinely deserves a high position in the highest court of the country. We are very proud and wish him all best for his tenure in the Supreme Court.”
- Sudhanshu was appointed as an honorary professor in the Uttarakhand Academy of Administration (ATI) Nainital.
- Reportedly, Sudhanshu Dhulia superseded 23 High Court judges to become a judge at the Supreme Court of India.
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