Justice D.H. Waghela was born on 11.08.1954 at Rajkot in the family of artists and artisans. He had his primary education in municipal schools and Swaminarayan Gurukul. His teachers found in him a precocious child and encouranged him twice to jump two standards in one academic year and that is how he cleared his eleventh standard matriculation at the age of 14 years. He graduated in commerce at P.D.Malaviya Commerce College, Rajkot and also attended his family business for five years. After graduating in commerce with honours in the year 1972, he joined A.M.P. Law College at Rajkot and voluntarily attempted all the examinations in law in English medium. He stood first in Saurashtra University in General LL.B. as well as in Special LL.B. in the years 1974 and 1975 respectively. While undertaking the studies for Special LL.B., he also attended the terms for his masters degree in law and stood second in the University in LL.M. by clearing all the examinations in 1976-77.
In order to be enrolled with the Bar, Justice D.H. Waghela had to wait for a few months as he was not meeting the eligibility criterion of 21 years of age. He was awarded National Scholarship for pursuing his LL.M. He was brought into legal practice by one of his Professors and Senior Advocate of Rajkot, who initiated him into the best practices in the legal profession. After being LL.M. at the age of 22, he started his own practice and office in the year 1978 and practiced exclusively in the Labour and Industrial Courts and exclusively appeared for labour for many years. He was elected as Secretary of the Labour Court Practitionersí Association for several successive years and represented the Labour Bar of Saurashtra in the agitation for a High Court bench in Saurashtra. However, while the struggle and agitation failed, he himself shifted his practice to the High Court in the year 1990 and shifted his residence and office to Ahmedabad in the year 1995.
Before that, he appeared in a sensational matter related to stock exchange against the redoubtable senior advocate late Shri Giriraj Desai and made his mark as a promising new entrant to the High Court Bar. Even at that stage, in the year 1994, he was called to the bench, but could be offered entry at the City Civil Court level because of his age. Thereafter, he practiced in the High Court and appeared in many cases for poor workmen without charging any fees and also represented several government bodies and companies as well as the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. In the year 1999, he was called to the bench and assumed his office as Additional Judge of the High Court of Gujarat on 17th September, 1999. He learned the elements of judgeship and the art of writing judgments from his great friend, philosopher and guide late Justice Shri R.K.Abichandani.
Justice D.H. Waghela, working as the Judge of the High Court, decided thousands of cases, sitting as a single Judge or in the Division Bench, and many of them have been reported. His Lordship particularly made his mark in the field of labour and constitutional law. He always tried to abide by the oath of his office and secured unstinting support of the Bar. He publicly acknowledged that he himself was a product of the Bar, and it was at the Bar that he learned and put into practice the professional ethics as well as the habit of working hard for securing the ends of justice. His Lordship was elevated as the Chief Justice, High Court of Karnataka in March, 2013.
On his transfer, His Lordship took oath as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on the 4th day of June 2015.†