On 7th April 2020, three judges were administered the oath of office of the joint high court for the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
On account of guidelines with regard to measures for containment of COVID-19 pandemic in the country issued by the Government of India and the Government of Jammu & Kashmir and in order to avoid gathering as well as to maintain social distancing. In view of the restrictions in place to curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the oath-taking ceremony was streamed online, with other judges of the High Court also taking part through the video link.
Advocate General, Assistant Solicitor General of India of both the wings of the High Court, President Bar Association, High Court of J&K, Jammu, Secretary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs UT of J&K also joined the oath ceremony through Video Linkage.
The judges were sworn into office are Justices Vinod Chatterji Koul, Sanjay Dhar and Puneet Gupta. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Gita Mittal at 12 noon in the Chief Justice’s Court of Jammu wing of the High Court.
All the three have served as district and sessions judge. The warrants of appointment of judges were read by Registrar General (Officiating) High Court of Jammu and Kashmir Jawad Ahmed.
The appointment of the three judges was made earlier this month, pursuant to a Supreme Court Collegium recommendation made issued last month. The Warrants of appointment of Judges were read by Registrar General (Officiating) High Court of Jammu and Kashmir Jawad Ahmed in English and Hindi.
Vinod Chatterji Koul was earlier serving as the Chairman of the J&K Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal following his posting in October 2019. Sanjay Dhar was appointed as the Registrar General, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in June 2016. Justice Puneet Gupta was earlier serving as a Member J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu since October, 2018.
With the appointment of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul, Justice Sanjay Dhar and Justice Puneet Gupta as Judges of the High Court, the strength of J&K High Court increased from nine to twelve. The J&K High Court has sanctioned strength of 17 Judges including 13 Permanent Judges and 4 Additional Judges.
Recently, Justice Rajnesh Oswal became the first Judge to take the oath as a Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court under the Indian Constitution. Following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, Justice Rajnesh Oswal became the first Judge to take the oath as a Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court under the Indian Constitution. His oath ceremony was also transmitted (with audio and video) through internet i.e. webcast. Previously, the oath taking process in Jammu & Kashmir was under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.
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