Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan – Journey of BCS Alumnus to Helm of Himachal High Court

Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan who is known for his various landmark verdicts in the history of the Indian judiciary and is an alumnus of  Bishop Cotton School Shimla was elevated as acting chief justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. The President of India issued a notification regarding the same.

Born on 9.1.1964 in Tehsil Rohru he completed his schooling at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla. He was the House Captain Ibbetson House and thereafter the School Captain. Graduated with Honours from DAV College, Chandigarh, and thereafter obtained a degree in Law from Panjab University, Chandigarh. 

He enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh in 1989 and joined the illustrious chamber of Advocate, Lala Chhabil Das. The designated CJ started practice in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh and holds experience in all branches of law. 

Prior to his elevation Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan was the Standing Counsel-cum-Legal Advisor of H.P. State Electricity Board Ltd. and earlier to that was the Standing Counsel-cum-Legal Advisor of H.P. State Civil Supplies Corporation. He conducted cases of various departments including Boards, Corporations, Financial Institutions, Public and Private Companies, Educational Institutions Cooperative Societies, etc.

 As a lawyer, he had been actively associated with the Legal Aid Programmes and also remained a member of various Lok Adalats. The new acting CJ was appointed Amicus-Curiae by the High Court in many important cases like those related to the violation of Environmental Laws by the Hydel Projects, Ropeways, etc., the ban on plastic and tobacco products, the implementation of Solid Waste Management Projects, and the Framing of road construction policy in Himachal Pradesh.

 Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan was elevated as an additional Judge of the High Court of Himachal and assumed office as such on 23.2.2014 (F.N.) He Took oath as Judge of the High  Court of Himachal Pradesh on 30th November 2014 (Forenoon). He was the Chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Committee, High Court of Himachal Pradesh w.e.f. 5.5.2014 and during this period, he has done tremendous work with keen interest for the welfare and interest of the children of Bal/Balika Ashrams, Himachal, Hospital For Mental Health and Rehab Shimla, and old age homes of Himachal Pradesh.

 He has participated in various National and International Conferences including the recent International Judicial Conference on the theme – “Judiciary and the Changing World” held w.e.f. 21.2.2020 to 23.2.2020 in the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi. Designated acting CJ was one of the Members out of three High Courts Judges, who participated in the International Learning Exchange Programme with a focus on the “reform of Care and Protection services for children” held in Romania with effect from 13th to 17th May 2019.

He is the first Judge of this High Court to have participated in any such International Conference held abroad. The new acting CJ attended the “National Annual Stakeholders Consultation on Child Protection” held on 10th and 11th December 2022 in the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi. Remained as a Member of the Governing Council as well as Executive Council of the Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla w.e.f. 12.11.2016

 Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan also held the post of President of the H.P. Judicial Academy w.e.f. 18.11.2018 to 15.3.2020 and w.e.f. 1.3.2021 to 5.4.2023. Heading the Computer and e-Courts Committee of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, the computerization in the High Court, as well as Subordinate Courts, has scaled new heights as now the Advocates/litigants apart from getting information about their cases can also access various other services i.e. applying online for a certified copy, pay court fees online, access cause-list, e-file a case (ITR), apply only for e-Gate Pass, etc. 

Further, under his guidance, peripheries have been developed for the day-to-day working of the High Court as well as Subordinate Courts. 

To name a few, Typing Test Software has been developed for conducting type tests, D-space Repository Software has been developed to store scanned decided files, Display Boards for the current status of the cases taken up in the Courts, SMS and email facility for the Judicial Officers as well as advocates, implementation of e-Office Software in the Establishment Branch of the Registry, Vigilance Software for generation of reports qua institution, disposal, and pendency of various categories of cases, Software for tracking the matters pending with other departments/Government, etc.

 Justice Chauhan also remained as Executive Chairman of the H.P. State Legal Services Authority w.e.f. 13.3.2020 to 25.2.2021 and thereafter w.e.f. 18.9.2021 to 07.11.2021 and now again continuing as Executive Chairman of the H.P. State Legal Services Authority w.e.f. 29.3.2023. Has delivered a number of landmark judgments and to date, 63,555 cases have been disposed of by him.

Amongst a number of landmark judgments: a few are: Suo motu cognizance was taken on a tragedy in which 24 students from Engineering Institute Hyderabad had been washed away in the Beas River on 8.6.2014. In Mathu Ram vs M.C. Shimla, his Lordship held that a time gap in the issuance of the policy on regularization which prescribed different cut-off dates cannot be a ground to deny the benefit of regularization on completion of service on a daily wage basis. Justice Chauhan also issued comprehensive guidelines to the State and the Secretary (Education) who were directed to issue mandatory orders to all the educational institutions, whether private or government owned to display detailed information on the notice board which were directed to be placed at the entrance of the campus and on their websites with respect to : Faculty and staff alongwith their qualifications and job experience (profile), details of infrastructure, affiliation alongwith certificates(s) of affiliation, details of internship and placement, fees with complete breakup and details, extracurricular activities with complete details, PTA with address and telephone numbers of its members, transport facilities with details, age of the institute and its achievements, if any, availability of scholarships with complete details, list of alumni(s) alongwith complete addresses and telephone numbers and the State was further directed to ensure that no private educational institution is allowed to charge fee towards building fund, infrastructure fund, development fund etc. In another landmark judgment, Justice Chauhan directed the State Police to upload all the FIRs on its portal and registration of FIR online.

The new Acting CJ will now enjoy greater administrative control and may improve the processes and procedures further in the working of courts. People of the state from various background have wished him the best for the new assignment.

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