Dharam Chand Chaudhary is an Indian judge. He served as a Judge of Himachal Pradesh High Court from 2012 to 2020. He is also the former Acting Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.
Dharam Chand Chaudhary was born on Wednesday, 12 March 1958 (age 65 years; as of 2023) in Lohara village in the Balh Tehsil of the Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Pisces. He grew up in an agriculturist family with a humble background. After completing his primary education at Government Primary School, Lohara, he did his matriculation at Government High School, Hatgarh, Distt – Mandi (HP). He pursued his graduation at Government Degree College, Kullu, and earned an LLB from Himachal Pradesh University in 1983. Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Delhi
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Not much is known about his parents and siblings.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name is Promila Chaudhary. Together, they have a son, Prashant Chaudhary, and a daughter, Vatsala Chaudhary. Vatsala Chaudhary (born in 1989) is a lawyer who joined the HP Judicial Services in the Cadre of Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate in 2016, becoming the first woman judge from the Balh region.
- Village & Post Office, Lohara, Tehsil Balh, District Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India
- Arindam, Near Aira Holme Estate Kasumpti Shimla, Himachal Pradesh– 171009
He enrolled as an advocate on 10 May 1983. For twelve years, he worked as an advocate in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Courts Subordinate, and the now-abolished HP State Administrative Tribunal. He appeared in the high court in civil, criminal, constitutional, labour, company and service matters. Apart from that, he also served as Additional Central Government Standing Counsel and Legal Advisor-cum-Standing Counsel to HP Khadi & Village Industries Board, HP Milk Federation, HP Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation, and HP Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Palampur, District Kangra in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. He has conducted cases on behalf of the National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation and The Kangra Central Co-operative Bank in the High Court. He was empanelled as an advocate on the panel of United Commercial Bank to conduct cases on its behalf in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. He has served in various positions at Himachal Pradesh’s High Court Bar Association including Treasurer (1986-87), Secretary (1989-1991), Vice President, and President (1993-1994). In 1994-95, he was nominated as a non-official member of the Council of Law Reporting, High Court of HP for a period of three years. He entered the HP Higher Judicial Services in 1995.
He was appointed as Additional District and Sessions Judge, a member of HP Higher Judicial Service by way of direct recruitment on 1 August 1995. In September 1995, he assumed the role of Additional District & Sessions Judge, Kullu (Independent Charge), Civil & Sessions Division Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul & Spiti Districts at Mandi. He became an Additional District & Sessions Judge, Civil & Sessions Division, Shimla in June 1997 and District and Sessions Judge (Inspection) on the Establishment of the Registry of the High Court of HP in December 1999. He was also appointed as District and Sessions Judge, Civil and Sessions Division, Hamirpur (2001), President, District Consumer Fora, Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul & Spiti Districts at Mandi (2004), and District & Sessions Judge, Kullu & Lahaul and Spiti Civil & Sessions Division at Kullu (2006). In December 2006, he took the role of Registrar (Rules)-cum-Principal Secretary to Hon’ble the Chief Justice, High Court of Himachal Pradesh.
In June 2008, he was re-designated as Registrar (Vigilance)-cum Principal Secretary to Hon’ble the Chief Justice with charge of Central Project Coordinator, E-Court Project, Supreme Court of India. He also served as Secretary of the Himachal Pradesh High Court Legal Services Committee. From 7 October 2010 to 20 January 2012, he was the Registrar General-cum-Principal Secretary to Hon’ble the Chief Justice, High Court of Himachal Pradesh. On 21 January 2012, he was elevated to the position of Additional Judge of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. On 18 January 2014, he was sworn in as the Permanent Judge of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh.
From 4 March 2014 to 28 September 2016, he was Chairman of the Computer Committee, High Court of Himachal Pradesh. He was the Chairman of H.P. High Court Legal Services Committee, Shimla from 23 August 2014 to 19 November 2018 and President of Himachal Pradesh Judicial Academy from 25 October 2016 to 20 November 2018. In 2018, he served as the Executive Chairman of HP State Legal Services Authority. He also remained as Chairman/Member of various Committees constituted by Hon’ble the Chief Justice to run the administrative business during this period. Around June 2019, he was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. He served as a Judge of Himachal Pradesh High Court till 11 March 2020.
On 15 September 2021, he was appointed as a Judicial Member of the Armed Forces Tribunal, Delhi, vide the Ministry of Defence, New Delhi. On 18 September 2021, he assumed charge of the office of Judicial Member of the Tribunal, in its Regional Bench at Chandigarh. He has also held the charge of Head of Department of Srinagar Bench of the AFT located at Jammu. In December 2022, Justice Chaudhary, Member (Judicial), took over as the Head of Department of the Chandigarh Regional Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which deals with all service and criminal matters of personnel of all ranks of the three defence services covering the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Union Territory of Chandigarh. During Justice Chaudhary’s time at the Chandigarh Bench of AFT, he has authored many reported landmark judgments in cases related to military service and criminal matters involving the Armed Forces. These rulings often emphasize the importance of providing support and compassion to disabled soldiers and military widows.
In 2023, Justice Chaudhary repeatedly passed orders asking the Ministry of Defence to implement the 2017 decision for paying up pensions due to some Naib Subedars, the lowest-ranked JCOs. Consequently, Chaudhary made headlines when was transferred from the Armed Forces Tribunal’s (AFT) Chandigarh bench to Kolkata. On 26 September 2023, the AFT Chandigarh Bar Association filed a petition to halt the transfer of Justice Chaudhary and launched an indefinite strike. The association wrote twice to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, terming the transfer as “a direct assault on the independence of judicial functioning” of the AFT. The Association alleged that the transfer was a consequence of the strict orders passed by Justice Chaudhary against MoD senior government officials. By September 28, the Bar Association of the Armed Forces Tribunal’s Chandigarh Bench received support from their counterparts in Jammu and Lucknow apart from the ex-servicemen in their strike against the transfer of Justice Chaudhary. On 9 October 2023, the SC effectively stayed the transfer of Justice Chaudhary and directed the tribunal’s chairperson to submit in a sealed cover a report detailing why the transfer was effected. The chairperson explained that there was a shortage of judicial members at the AFT Kolkata Bench and that the Chandigarh Bench was the only Bench where there was a surplus of judicial members. Consequently, the SC dismissed the petition filed by the AFT Chandigarh Bar Association on 13 October 2023, refusing to halt the transfer of Justice Chaudhary. However, the Court requested the Central government to provide a response regarding the request to remove authority over the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) from the Union Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Assets & Properties
- 1/10 Share in ancestral agricultural land measuring 15-7-8 Bighas at Mohal Rinj (Lohara) Tehsil Sadar, District Mandi, H.P. over a portion whereof two-storeyed house has been constructed
- Purchased land measuring 451.50 sq. mtrs. comprised in Khasra No.73, Khatauni No.93, Khasra No.959, at Mohal Kasumpti Koti, Hadbast No.11, Tehsil & District Shimla (Urban)
- One golden ring weighing 9.30