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Who is Dalveer Bhandari? India’s member to the ICJ has his humble roots in Rajasthan

Bhandari is also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award, the third highest civilian award in India in 2014. Read on to know more about the legal luminary

Dalveer Bhandari was today re-elected for the last seat of the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the election.

India’s official nominee for the ICJ - Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at UN headquarters in New York.

Many are of the opinion that Bhandari’s election will be having a positive effect, and possibly it will give India an edge over Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, currently pending with the ICJ.


Justice Dalveer Bhandari (Courtesy: International Court of Justice)

But what a lot do not know about Justice Bhandari, is that his illustrious judicial career follows from a legal lineage too: he comes from a family of lawyers in Rajasthan.

Bhandari was born on October 1, 1947, in Jodhpur and both his father Mahaveer Chand Bhandari and grandfather BC Bhandari were practitioners of the Rajasthan bar.

Bhandari has a degree in humanities, followed by one in law from Jodhpur University after which he went on to practice law at the Rajasthan High Court between 1968 and 1970.

His association with the United Nations started from the days of his education itself when he worked on a project called “Delay in Administration of Criminal Justice in India”, the research for which was sponsored by the UN.

A big break came when Bhandari got the chance to attend a workshop in Chicago in 1970, following which he bagged a scholarship and went on to obtain a Master’s degree from Northwestern University School of Law.

In June 1973, Bhandari travelled to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka on a fellowship as part of an observational-cum-lecture tour on legal aid and educational programs.

Bhandari returned to India in 1973 and until February 1977 he practiced in the Rajasthan High Court on all branches of law.

Dalveer bhandari

In 1977, Bhandari started working in the Delhi High Court where he was elevated as a judge in 1991, delivering several landmark judgments in almost all branches of the law.

After serving for more than 13 years at the Delhi High Court, Bhandari was elevated to the post of Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court in 2004, where he rolled out several important judgments.

His judgements and orders have led to a much larger allocation of funds for malnutrition in the five most backward districts of Maharashtra and he was instrumental in setting up mediation and conciliation centres and also in ensuring better infrastructural facilities, particularly for the subordinate judiciary in the states of Maharashtra and Goa.

Bhandari went on to serve as a judge in the Supreme Court of India after October 2005 and delivered several landmark verdicts- starting with the release of higher food grains for the BPL, night shelters for homeless people, and the right to free and compulsory education for children.

He also delivered a large number of judgments on comparative law, public interest litigation, constitutional law, criminal law, civil procedure code, administrative law, arbitration laws, insurance and banking and family laws.

India is considering Bhandari’s suggestion for a serious amendment of the Hindu Marriage Act considering his landmark judgment in a divorce case.

In the realm of international law, Bhandari has been associated with various cases of the ICJ since June 2012 and has delivered many Separate Opinions on various areas covering maritime disputes, whaling in Antarctica, genocide, nuclear disarmament, terrorism financing and many others.

Bhandari is also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award, the third highest civilian award in India in 2014.
First Published on Nov 21, 2017 12:02 pm
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