Tribute to a legal luminary

Ravi Rohmetra


Duggar land has its own brilliant and unique history. It has given birth to academicians, social workers, politicians, singers, actors and leaders of caliber. One product and prominent amongst them has been Judge Harbans Lal Bargotra. This is the tale of towering personality who worked selflessly for cause of the people. He was a friend, a guide and a social worker. During his life time he was counted amongst the great personalities of Jammu .A personality who shared weal and woes of needy.
Judge Harbans Lal Bhagotra was born on 25th June 1916 in an affluent family of Mirpur . His father Lala Deewan Chand and grand father Kanshi Ram were renowned businessman of,Mirpur. His mother Ram Khetri expired when Harbans Lal was one year old. Although he did his matriculation from Punjab University as a student of Government High School, Mirpur, in 1931 and FA in 1933 in 3rd division. The education used to be tough and there was no system of Private tuitions. Thus Lala Ji had to work hard to complete his studies. For his graduation, he joined Sanatam Dharam College, Lahore and Passed his B.A from Punjab University Lahore in 1935 in 2nd division.
The education in this college was a building stone for his subsequent career as recalled by him. He joined Law College Lahore, in 1935 and did his L.L.B with distinction from Punjab University Lahore.
In December,1946, he appeared in, the competitive examination for Kashmir Judicial service and was selected on merit to be appointed as a Munsif Magistrate, first on leave vacancy at Mirpur and them on a regular basis at R S Pura on 25th May1947. From , here onwards, he had to move various place in the state in quick succession. He was posted as Sub-Register, Judicial, first at Jammu for a period of four months and then at Srinagar where he remained posted for a period of six months. From Srinagar, he was sent as Munsif Magistrate Rajouri, after the town was recaptured, from the raiders. After a short stay at Rajouri, he was transferred to Reasi where he stayed as Munsif Magistrate in 1951. In May 1951 he was posted as Deputy Registrar at high Court where he worked until mid of July 1955. In 1955 he become city Judge till 1958 when he was transferred ADM Kathua till June 1959 and then posted as Administrator Jammu Municipality till March 1961 and then on the same posted at Srinagar till December 1961. In December in 1961 he was posted as Secretary Delimitation Commission ( for Assembly constituencies) and special officer for a short span of six months. In April 1962 he was posted as ADM Jammu with additional powers of special magistrate extending throughout Jammu and Kashmir for trial of one of the accused of Kashmir conspiracy case. On 1st August 1964 Judge Sahib was posted as 1st Session Judge of Anantnag district against the newly ‘created post. He worked there for one year and on 4th August 1965, he was posted as district and session judge Jammu and remained on this prestigious position for a period of 4 years till 26-06-71. After retirement he was posted as one man commission to enquire into the charge of “food adulteration in jail and then special Judge state anti-corruption organization for a short period. He was made Director Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd from 1972 to 1980. He represented Jammu west constituency as MLA Janata Party from 1977 to 1983. He completed six years terms during those times and later on he was elected to the assembly on Janta Party ticket. He also started some philanthropic services as well which are remembered even now by people of the State.