Justice Mohammad Rafiq took oath as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court on Monday, 27th April, 2020. Prof. Ganeshi Lal, the governor of Orissa since 2018, administered Justice Mohammad Rafiq the oaths of office and secrecy at the Lok Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.
Justice Rafiq will serve as the 31st Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court situated in Cuttack.The Supreme Court Collegium had made a recommendation in this regard on April 18, 2020. After consultation with the Chief Justice of India, President Ram Nath Kovind transferred Justice Mohammad Rafiq from Meghalaya High Court on April 23, 2020.
The Orissa High Court had been functioning under the patronage of Acting Chief Justice Sanju Panda since January 5, 2020 following the retirement of Justice Kalpesh Satyendra Jhaveri before the current Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq took oath.
Justice Rafiq, who was born in Sujangarh, Churu, is a graduate in law from Rajasthan University. He started his law practice as an advocate at the Bar Council of Rajasthan in 1984. He started his career as an advocate just after securing his LLB degree, but he continued to study further and secured his Master’s degree in 1986. He practiced exclusively in the Rajasthan High Court in almost all branches of law and especially conducted constitutional matters, service matters, land acquisition cases, land revenue cases, preventive detention cases, customs & excise matters, railway claims cases, tax matters, company matters and criminal matters before the High Court of Rajasthan situated in Jaipur.
He served as Assistant Government Advocate for the State of Rajasthan for more than a year from July 15th, 1986 to December 21st, 1987 and as Deputy Government Advocate for more than two years from December 22nd, 1987 to June 29th, 1990. He served as an advocate for 7 years from 1999 to 2006. He represented the Union of India as Standing Counsel from 1992 to 2001 before the High Court. He was appointed as Additional Advocate General for Rajasthan in January, 1999 and elevated to the bench of the Rajasthan High Court in May, 2006. He was appointed as Justice at the Rajasthan High Court in 2008 and was elevated as the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court in November, 2019. He has also served as Acting Chief Justice at the Rajasthan High Court on two occasions. He was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court by the President, Ram Nath Kovind on 3 April 2019. He took oath as the Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court on 7 April 2019 up to 4 May 2019. He was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court for the second time from 23 September, 2019 to 5 October, 2019 after elevation of Justice Shripathi Ravindra Bhat to Supreme Court of India.
Meanwhile, Justice Biswanath Somadder took oath as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court on April 27, 2020 as well.