Justice P B Sawant was also a member of a tribunal headed by Justice V R Krishna Iyer to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Justice P B Sawant, a retired Supreme Court (SC) judge, passed away in Pune on Monday morning. He was 91.
Former Judge of Bombay High Court, BG Kolse Patil, who has had a long association with Justice Sawant, said: “He passed away at his residence at 9.30 am today due to age-related issues. He was 91 and had not been keeping well for more than the last month. His death has caused irreparable damage to the legal and social fraternity. He is survived by his wife and three children and their families.”
Justice Sawant, according to the Supreme Court website, was born on June 30, 1930. Since 1957, he practised as an advocate in the Bombay High Court (HC) and Supreme Court of India in all branches of law—Civil, Criminal, Industrial, Service Election, Constitutional and Co-operative on Original and Appellate side.
In 1973, he was appointed as judge of the Bombay High Court. Justice Sawant, as a judge, conducted an inquiry into the Air-India aircraft crash in June, 1982. He, as an advocate, was office bearer and legal adviser of several Trade Unions and Social and Educational Institutions.
The renowned judge was the governor’s nominee for the Selection of Vice-Chancellor of Shivaji University 1986, governor’s nominee on the Staff Selection Committee of the Bombay University 1986-87 and governor’s nominee on the Senate of the Pune University, 1987.
With effect from 6th October, 1989, Justice Sawant was elevated to the Supreme Court bench. He retired on June 6, 1995, and was active in various public matters since then.
Being one of the members of a tribunal headed by Justice V R Krishna Iyer to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots, Justice Sawant was also the chairman of the commission constituted on September 1, 2003 to investigate the corruption charges against four ministers in the government of Maharashtra.
Justice Sawant claimed to be the president of the controversial Elgaar Parishad held at the Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, ahead of the 200th commemoration of the battle of Koregaon Bhima. Though he did not attend the Elgar Parishad, after the police crackdown on Elgaar Parishad for its alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist, the former judge came out in support of the accused persons arrested in this case.