Sudhi Ranjan Das

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Sudhi Ranjan Das
Sudhi Ranjan Das, Chief Justice of India
Personal details
Born (1894-10-01)1 October 1894
Telirbagh , Bangladesh,
Died 18 September 1977(1977-09-18) (aged 82)
Political party Independent
Alma mater University of Calcutta
University College London
Profession Lawyer
As of Dec 20, 2007
Source: [2]

Sudhi Ranjan Das (Bengali: সুধী রঞ্জন দাস Shudhi Rônjon Dash) (1 October 1894 – 18 September 1977) (S.R. Das) was the 5th Chief Justice of India, serving from December 1, 1955 to January 30, 1959. Mr. Das also served as Chairman of The Statesman.[1]

Background and education[edit]

S.R. Das was born into the prominent Das family of Telirbagh (now in Bangladesh). He was born to Rakhal Chandra Das and Binodini Das. He attended the university school of Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, where he was one of the first four pupils of Rabindranath Tagore.[1]

After finishing his intermediate examinations at the Scottish Church College, he moved on to the Bangabasi College under the University of Calcutta from which he graduated, and proceeded to read law at University College London, from which he graduated with first class honours (LL.B., 1918). He was called to the Bar in 1918 at Gray's Inn, London.[1][2][3]

Sudhi Ranjan Das was married to the former Swapna Majumdar, the daughter of S.B.Majumdar, an ICS officer. By his wife, he had two sons Group Captain Suranjan Das and Suhrid Ranjan Das, and one daughter. The daughter Anjana married the barrister and future Law Minister Ashoke Sen. His children were all named by Rabindranath Tagore; however, at least one son, the younger, bore a name already used in the Das family.[1]

Both sons died young. The elder, Group Captain Suranjan Das, a test pilot, died in a plane crash, leaving a daughter, Ranjana and son, Sudipto, by his first marriage. The younger son, Suhrid Ranjan Das (alias "Manik"), died in December 1966 in a motor accident near Angul, Orissa, in which his elder daughter also died; his wife and younger daughter survived the accident. Sudhi Ranjan Das was survived by his daughter Anjana (nicknamed "Kajal") and her husband Ashoke Kumar Sen, and by seven grandchildren.[4]

He came from a family of lawyers: his brother, P.R. Das, was an advocate. His cousin, Chittaranjan Das, was a lawyer, who later became the Mayor of Calcutta as well as the President of the Indian National Congress. Two of C.R. Das' grandchildren, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, the former Chief Minister of West Bengal and former Governor of the Punjab and Justice Manjula Bose, a senior judge of the High Court of Calcutta was and is a descendant of S.R. Das. Another cousin, Satish Ranjan Das, was an Advocate-General of Bengal and later a Law Member of the Executive Council of the Viceroy. Yet another cousin, J.R. Das, sat in the High Court at Rangoon. One of his pupils, Amal Kumar Sarkar, went on to became a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India for a short period. Das was also a cousin of two prominent Bengali educationists and feminists - the sisters Sarala Roy, founder of the Gokhale Memorial Girls' College in Calcutta and a prominent person in Bengal's social affairs, and Lady Abala Bose, wife of scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose and also a prominent person of her time.

Legacy[edit]

S.R. Das joined the Calcutta Bar in 1919 and also lectured at the University Law College. He is known to have had an incredible capacity for hard work. His erudition and perspicacity soon brought him to the forefront in the legal profession. Justice Das was appointed a Judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1942, and, finally, a Judge of the Federal Court of India on January 20, 1950, a few days after that, to become one of the first batch of Judges of the Supreme Court of India. He was a very illustrious Chief Justice of this Court from 1956-1959. His vast knowledge and experience and sterling qualities were utilised also in the spheres of education and public life. He was the Upacharya of Visva-Bharati from 1959 to 1965 and then a member of the University Grants Commission from 1962 to 1965. In November, 1961, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Commission to enquire into the grievances of the Sikh Community.

In November 1963, he constituted a one-man Commission which investigated allegations of corruption and misuse of power against Chief Minister Kairon of Punjab who lost his office as a result of his findings. He was also invited to become the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Statesman Newspaper at a critical juncture in its history.

Many recall Das' acts of charity, his proverbial gentleness with the members of the Bar, and mildness of his manner but firmness in the discharge of what he conceived to be his duty.

He carried a reputation for being a man of simple habits and gentle of disposition. Das shared a great deal of sympathy for the poor. A prominent member of the Brahmo Samaj movement, he endeavoured at all times to pursue earnestly the sect's ideals, including equal rights for all individuals regardless of casts, sex or creed.

Das was known to have a lively and wholesome sense of humour as is evident from his farewell speech on his retirement from this Court.

Family tree

Gopi Mohan Das

           |
     Rakhal Chandra Das              Rai Bahadhur S.B.Majumdar
                |                     |
          Sudhi Ranjan Das--------Swapna Majumdar
                             |
         ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         |                                  |                                         |
     Suranjan Das                         Anjana                                Suhrid Ranjan
     (d. 1970)                           (d. 2000)                             (d. Dec 1966)
     m1. (div)                               md.                              md. Roma Sarkar (decd. Sept, 1983)
     ____________________            Ashoke Kumar Sen                             |
     |                  |                      |                               1 dau, 1 dau (decd)
     Sudipto Das     Ranjita Basu(decd)        |                                      |
           md              md                  |                                 -------------
     Sanchita Shome   Rathikant Basu           |                                      |
           |                |                  |                                   Mita Das
     Sumantro Das    --------------            |                             md. to Bijon Sengupta
                     |            |            |                             !------------------!
             Nandita Basu    Aparajita Basu    |
       md. to Abhishek Gupta                   |                          Avishek              Priyanka
                 |           ----------------------------------------
            Tara Gupta        |            |           |          |
                            Krishna    Shyamali     Anindya    Aditya

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Biography on NIC webpage
  2. ^ Some Alumni of Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. page 593
  3. ^ Sen, Asit. Glimpses of College History: The Students and the Teachers in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. page 234
  4. ^ Eulogy by Chief Justice M.H. Beg and Attorney General, Mr. S.V. Gupte in 1977.[1]. Retrieved 27 December 2007. The grandchildren were the two children of his elder son Suranjan, the surviving daughter of his younger son Suhrid ("Manik"), and the four children of his daughter Anjana.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Khitishchandra Chaudhuri
Upacharya, Vishwa Bharati
1959-1965
Succeeded by
Kalidas Bhattacharya
Legal offices
Preceded by
Bijan Kumar Mukherjea
Chief Justice of India
31 January 1956 – 30 September 1959
Succeeded by
Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha