Know Thy Judge| Justice Rohinton F. Nariman

As Justice Rohinton F. Nariman celebrates his 64th birthday today, let’s have a look at his journey so far in shaping the justice system.

Here are some of the notable judgments that Justice Nariman has been a part of:

  • K.S. Puttaswamy (Privacy-9J.) v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1 : The 9-judge bench of J.S. Khehar, CJ and J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde, R.K. Agrawal, R.F. Nariman, A.M. Sapre, Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, S.K. Kaul and S.A. Nazeer, JJ has unanimously held: “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.”   Read  more 
  • Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1:.: Justice Nariman gave the majority opinion with the 5 judge bench wherein the Court was faced with deciding on the constitutionality of Section 377 IPC which penalised gay sex among other unnatural sexual acts. In order to “set the course for the future”, the Court attempted to “right a wrong by history” by holding Section 377 IPC unconstitutional insofar it penalised consensual sexual acts between adults in private. Read more 
  • Joseph Shine v. Union of India,(2019) 3 SCC 39: In a 1448-pages judgment, the Court pronounced the decision on validity of Section 497 IPC which brought ‘adultery’ in the box of criminalisation. Observing that “any system treating a woman with indignity, inequity and inequality or discrimination invites a wrath of the Constitution”, the Court held Section 497 IPC and Section 198(2) CrPC to be violative of Articles 14, 15(1) and 21 and therefore ultra vires the Constitution. Read more 
  • Jarnail Singh v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta(2018)  10  SCC 396  : The 5-Judge Constitution Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and Kurian Joseph, R.F. Nariman, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indu Malhotra, JJ., disposed of a batch of petitions holding that the judgment in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 212 does not need to be referred to a 7-Judge Bench. However, the conclusion in Nagaraj that the State has to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, being contrary to the 9-Judge Bench in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, 1992 Supp (3) 217 was held to be invalid to this extent. The court held that applying creamy layer principle to SC/ST not invalid and collection of quantifiable data to show backwardness not allowed. Read more 
  • Indian Young Lawyers Assn. v. State of Kerala(2019)  11  SCC 1: A 5-Judge Constitution Bench, by a majority of 4:1, held not allowing entry to women of the age group of 10 to 50 years in the Sabarimala Temple is unconstitutional. The judgment of the Court was delivered by CJ Dipak Misra for himself and A.M. Khanwilkar, J. While, R.F. Nariman and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud each gave separate concurring opinions. The only lady Judge on the Bench, Indu Malhotra, J. rendered a dissenting opinion. Read more 
  • Shayara Bano v. Union of India, (2017) 9 SCC 1: A 5-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has held by 3:2 majority that the practice of Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The decision was rendered by the Bench comprising of J.S. Khehar, CJI along with Kurian Joseph, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Uday Umesh Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, JJ. While Nariman and Lalit, JJ. held that Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violative of Article 14, Justice Joseph struck down the practice on the ground that it goes against Shariat and the basic tenets of the Quran. Read more  
  • Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India, (2017)  9  SCC 766 : The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, RF Nariman and Navin Sinha, JJ laid down elaborate guidelines for the system of designation of Senior Advocates in the Supreme Court as well as all the High Courts of India. The Court said: “The sole yardstick by which we propose to introduce a set of guidelines to govern the matter is the need for maximum objectivity in the process so as to ensure that it is only and only the most deserving and the very best who would be bestowed the honour and dignity. The credentials of every advocate who seeks to be designated as a Senior Advocate or whom the Full Court suo motu decides to confer the honour must be subject to an utmost strict process of scrutiny leaving no scope for any doubt or dissatisfaction in the matter.” Read more 
  • Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1: The Bench held Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which made such offenses punishable up to three years imprisonment, to be unconstitutional. The judgement was authored by Justice Nariman. According to Justice Nariman and Justice Chelameswar, several terms in the law they were striking down were “open-ended, undefined and vague” which made them nebulous in nature; “What may be offensive to one may not be offensive to another. What may cause annoyance or inconvenience to one may not cause annoyance or inconvenience to another.” Read more 
  • Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 571 : In a reference dealing with the interpretation of Section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872 that deals with admissibility of electronic records, the 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, S. Ravindra Bhat and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that the certificate required under Section 65B(4) is a condition precedent to the admissibility of evidence by way of electronic record, as correctly held in by the 3-judge bench in Anvar P.V. v. P.K. Basheer, (2014) 10 SCC 473, and incorrectly “clarified” by a division bench in Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2018) 2 SCC 801. The Court further clarified that the required certificate under Section 65B(4) is unnecessary if the original document itself is produced. Read more 

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3 comments

  • Yeh,he appears to be future hope in the present polluted atmosphere.

  • Some Judges never get criticism some other get
    generally & Specifically. Unless restrain to help, keep misplaced sympathies,it is difficult to keep suffered unjustifiably mute. Smoke cannot be hidden, Truth prevail,

  • One of the all time great Judges, truly made a sacrifice of a lucrative practice

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