Justice Dr Arjan Kumar Sikri’s remarkable tenure of around 6 years ends as a Supreme Court Judge today i.e. 06-03-2019.
“Education took us from thumb impression to signature; Technology has taken us from signature to thumb impression, again” – Justice Sikri (Aadhaar Judgment)”
Justice Dr Arjan Kumar Sikri commonly known as the “Professor Judge” because of his spectacular academic record was born on 07-03-1954.
“Be patient. There is no limit, and work hard. Don’t think you can achieve name and fame in a day.”*
-Justice Dr A.K. Sikri
With an excellent academic record, he stood third in the merit list in Higher Secondary from CBSE, Delhi, following which he completed his B.Com (Hons.) from Shriram College of Commerce, Delhi University in the year 1974 and LL.B. from Law Faculty, Delhi University in the year 1977.
Strokes of Genius
He was awarded Gold Medal for attaining first position in LL.B. Awarded special prize for getting highest marks in Constitutional Law I & II. During his LL.M. from Delhi University, he was ranked first in 3-Year course. Acquired the position of president of Campus Law Centre, Delhi University during 1976-1977 and was also a member of Academic Council of Delhi University for the same duration along with being a member in various other committees of Delhi University.
Early Life as an Advocate
Justice Sikri had enrolled as an Advocate in July, 1977 with Bar Council of Delhi and started practicing in Delhi. Conducted cases of all types with specialization in Constitutional cases, Labour – Service Matters and Arbitration Matters. He was also a part-time lecturer at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University (1984-89). He was also the Vice-President, Delhi High Court Bar Association during 1994-1995. Following which he was designated as a Senior Advocate by Delhi High Court on 30-09-1997.
Journey of a “Judge” with the belief of – Sensitization of Judges to have speedy justice
The impeccable journey of Justice Sikri started with him being appointed as a Delhi High Court Judge on 7-07-1999. As a Judge, he dealt with all kinds of jurisdictions and gave many landmark judgments.
He was chosen as one of the 50 most influential persons in Intellectual Property in the world in a survey conducted by Managing Intellectual Property Association (MIPA) for the year 2007.
He achieved another milestone by being appointed as an Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on 10-10-2011 and was elevated as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 23-09-2012.
Odyssey of the Illustrious Personality of Justice Dr A.K. Sikri
On 12-04-2013, A.K. Sikri was elevated to the Supreme Court of India.
Has been conferred Doctorate of Laws, Honoris Causa, by Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow, in November 2013.
As a Judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Sikri has been a part of more than 900 judgments from which several turned out to be landmark ones.
Some of the Judgments of which Dr A.K. Sikri was a part of and would always be used in common parlance are as follows:
Aadhaar Verdict | Aadhaar here to stay; K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (Aadhaar-5 Judge) (2019) 1 SCC 1
“Better be unique than being best; Aadhaar means unique”
Passive Euthanasia is permissible; Human beings have a fundamental right to die; Common Cause v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 208
“It is an undisputed that Doctors’ primary duty is to provide treatment and save life but not in the case when a person has already expressed his desire of not being subjected to any kind of treatment. It is a common law right of people, of any civilized country, to refuse unwanted medical treatment and no person can force him/her to take any medical treatment which the person does not desire to continue with”
Only “green” fireworks permitted to be manufactured and sold: SC; Arjun Gopal v. Union of India 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2118
“directions to be followed for burning of crackers while refusing the complete ban on the sale of firecrackers as it may lead to extreme economic hardships”
Karnataka Elections: KG Bopaiah to continue to be pro-tem speaker; SC orders Live broadcast of Floor Test;
“Live broadcast of Floor Test would be the best way to ensure transparency of proceedings.”
Motilal Pesticides overruled as it missed the difference in the terms ‘Income’ and ‘Gross Total Income’; Vijay Industries v. CIT, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 299
“Reading of Section 80HH along with Section 80A would clearly signify that such a deduction has to be of gross profits and gains, i.e., before computing the income as specified in Sections 30 to 43D of the Act.”
Delhi v. Centre: Powers demarcated; Split verdict on power to transfer and appoint officers; State (NCT of Delhi) v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 193
Maharashtra Dance Bar law; Indian Hotel and Restaurant Assn. v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 41
Amend S. 80DD of IT Act to give benefit to disabled persons even during the lifetime of guardian: SC to Centre; Ravi Agrawal v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 5
“Where guardian has become very old but is still alive, though he is not able to earn any longer or he may be a person who was in service and has retired from the said service and is not having any source of income. In such cases, it may be difficult for such a parent/guardian to take care of the medical needs of his/her disabled child. Even when he/she has paid full premium, the handicapped person is not able to receive any annuity only because the parent/guardian of such handicapped person is still alive.”
In a recent judgment of the Supreme Court [Dnyaneshwar Suresh Borkar v. State of Maharashtra; 2019 SCC OnLine SC 304]in the case of a murder convict, of which Justice Sikri was a part; the Court took note of a very rare thing that “that, from the poems, written by him in the jail, it appears that he has realised his mistake which was committed by him at the time when he was of young age and that he is reformative; therefore the appellant can be reformed and rehabilitated.” and refused to place this case in “rarest of rare category”.
Ideology | Keyword to success: Hard Work
On analysing few of Justice Sikri’s interviews his only mantra to the student’s pursuing law was summed up in three stages as mentioned:
Three stages in a lawyer’s career – First: Work, work and no money; Second: money commensurate to the work; and finally, little work and a lot of money.
“While the human in law is important, humane in law is indispensable.”
-Justice Dr A.K. Sikri
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world”, this quote by William Shakespeare is apt, to sum up, the momentous journey of Justice Dr Arjan Kumar Sikri.