Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sunderlal Trikamlal Desai
Date of Birth : 01/01/1901 
Date of Joining : 01/05/1960 
Held Office Till : 25/01/1961
Source :BAR
Introduction : Elevated on May 1, 1960 as First Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.
Full Profile :

His education took place at Bombay and Ahmedabad. Was brilliant scholar and achieved great distinction in his studies in law and was awarded Kinloch Forbes Gold Medal at the LL.B. degree examination. After completing his studies in India, His Lordship proceeded to U.K. and was called to the Bar in 1927 and commenced practice on the Original Side of the Bombay High Court.

His Lordship soon acquired a lucrative practice both on the Appellate and Original sides of the Bombay High Court and achieved distinction as a great lawyer, an able cross examiner, an erudite scholar and a brilliant Advocate.

In 1952, His Lordship was elevated to the Bench of the Bombay High Court which office he discharged with great learning and conspicuous ability till May 1960 when His Lordship was called upon to preside over the new High Court of Gujarat as its first Chief Justice. Though His Lordship’s tenure of office was short, the foundation of the Gujarat High Court can be said to have been well and truly laid. His Lordship maintained and even enhanced the great traditions which Gujarat High Court inherited from the Bombay High Court. The distinctive place which the Gujarat High Court to day enjoys amongst the various High Courts in India is not in a small measure due to the untiring efforts of His Lordship.

As a Judge of the Bombay High Court and later on as the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court. His Lordship has earned a lasting place in our hearts as a great and a humane Judge, an eminent jurist and an erudite scholar. The law reports since 1952 bear ample testimony to the profound scholarship and erudition of His Lordship as a Judge. Some of His Lordship’s judgments have become land marks in those branches of the law with which they deal with and have thrown a flood of light on abstruse problems in law puzzling many a practitioner. His Lordship’s approach to legal problems has always been broad based, liberal and humane, and not bound down by technicalities or by doctrinaire approach. In particular, His Lordship’s judgments in Income-tax matters have truly brought a fresh and practical approach to the problems raised instead of a technical or a rigid approach. Without attempting to recount several of His Lordship’s judgment which have settled many an unsettled question and opened up new vistas of legal thought, a few of his notable judgments may be noted here. The case of S.C.Prashar vs. Vasantsen Dwarkadas (1956) 29 I.T.R. 857 clarified the scope of writs under Article 226 in Income-tax matters while Radheshyam vs. the Union of India 62 B.L.R. 11 laid down the ambit of the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court in an application under Article 226 against the Union of India or any of its agencies. More recently, we have the judgment of His Lordship sitting in a Full Bench in the case of the Anand Municipality vs. the Union of India (1960) 1 GLR 82 holding that the decisions of the Bombay High Court are binding on the Gujarat High Court. Considerable light has been thrown on the law relating to land acquisition for a company in His Lordship’s judgment in Motilal Vithalbhai Patel vs. the State of Gujarat (1961) II GLR 1. Another judgment of far reaching importance was given by His Lordship very recently sitting again in a full bench in the case of C.N.Bros vs. Commissioner of Income-tax where it was held that the Bombay Court-fees Act, 1959 is retrospective.

Besides discharging his duties as a Judge His Lordship has been an author of great repute. His treastise on the law of partnership has since long become a classic in that subject. His Lordship brought in his legal erudition and prodigious industry in editing the 12th Edition of Mulla’s Hindu Law, which work he carried out with unsurpassed competence. The masterly general introduction to he 12th Ed. Tracing the growth of Hindu Law, he inroads made on it by the statutes and judicial decisions and the commentaries on the recent legislation dealing with important aspect of Hindu Law has given an added luster to that monumental work.

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