Know Thy Judge| Justice Navin Sinha

As Justice Navin Sinha 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 Sinha has been a part of:

  • Swiss Ribbons Pvt. Ltd. V. Union of India, (2019) 4 SCC 17: The bench of RF Nariman and Navin Sinha, JJ has upheld the validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 in its entirety as the provisions contained therein pass the constitutional muster. Noticing that in the working of the Code, the flow of financial resource to the commercial sector in India has increased exponentially as a result of financial debts being repaid, the bench said: “The defaulter ‘s paradise is lost. In its place, the economy ‘s rightful position has been regained.” 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
  • International Spirits and Wines Association of India v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 183 : The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph struck down Rule 24(i-eeee) of the Haryana Liquor License Rules 1970 by a 2:1 majority verdict. Justice Sinha wrote the majority judgment on behalf of himself and the then Chief Justice, Rajan Gogoi. Justice Sinha held that Rule 24(i-eeee), which allowed a single licensee to deal in imported foreign liquor for the entire State was invalid. The majority agreed that the amendment of the relevant rules, which paved way for the conferment of license to a single licensee, was not authorized by the parent Act . Read more 
  • Reena Hazarika v. State of Assam, (2019) 13 SCC 289 : A Bench comprising of Rohinton F. Nariman and Navin Sinha, JJ. allowed criminal appeal observing that mere invocation of the last seen theory, sans the facts and evidence in a case, will not suffice to shift the onus upon the accused under Section 106 of the Evidence Act, 1872 unless the prosecution first establishes a prima facie case. Read more 
  • Mohammed Imran v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1943: The 3-Judge Bench comprising of Kurian Joseph, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Navin Sinha, JJ., while allowing an appeal filed by a successful judicial services candidate stated that, “the consideration and candidature in the present case of the appellant are afflicted by a myopic vision, blurred by the spectacle of moral turpitude, reflecting inadequate appreciation and application of facts.” Justice Sinha also noted that “An alleged single misadventure or misdemeanor of the present nature, if it can be considered to be so, cannot be sufficient to deny appointment to the Appellant when he has on all other aspects and parameters been found to be fit for appointment”. Read more
  • EXL Careers v. Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd.,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 621: The 3-judge bench of R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, JJ has held that if a plaint is returned under Order VII Rule 10 and 10A of CPC, for presentation in the court in which it should have been instituted, the plaint is to be considered as a fresh plaint and the trial is to be conducted de novo. Read more 
  • Chairman, Board of Trustees Cochin v. Arebee Star Maritime Agencies Private Ltd, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 622 : The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, JJ  held that the expression “may” in sections 61 and 62 of the Major Ports Trust Act, 1963 cannot be read as “shall”, subject  to the caveat that as the “State” under Article 12 of the Constitution, a Port Trust must act reasonably, and attempt to sell the goods within a reasonable period from the date on which it has assumed custody of them. Read more 
  • Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board v. Sterlite Industries (I) Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine SC 221,: The bench of RF Nariman and Navin Sinha, JJ has refused to allow reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin, which was at the centre of massive protests over pollution concerns. It, however, granted the company liberty to approach the Madras High Court. Read more 
  • Monsanto Technology LLC v. Nuziveedu Seeds, (2019) 3 SCC 381 : Justice Sinha wrote the judgment on behalf of himself and Justice RF Nariman in one of the most keenly watched bio-tech patent litigation in India. Monsanto had approached the Court to set aside a decision of the Delhi High Court, which had declared Monsanto’s patent over Bt. Technology invalid. It held that the division bench of the Delhi HC had erred in making its decision in a technically complex matter without the benefit of evidence obtained through a trial. Given this, the Court remitted the case back for a decision on the validity of the patent.
  • Anand Ramachandra Chougule v. Sidarai Laxman Chougala, (2019) 8 SCC 50 : The Division Bench comprising of Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Ashok Bhushan were posed with the question that whether the High Court was correct in convicting the Respondents under a less criminal stringent provision – Section 304 as opposed to Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Bench found that the prosecution had concealed the fact that the Respondents themselves had filed a FIR in relation to a scuffle which broke out between the deceased and the Respondents. The Bench held that : “A fair criminal trial encompasses a fair investigation at the pretrial stage, a fair trial where the prosecution does not conceal anything from the court and discharges its obligations in accordance with the law impartially to facilitate a just and proper decision by the court in the larger interest of justice concluding with a fairness in sentencing also”. Hence, the Bench declined to interfere with the decision of the High Court.
  • Bhagwat v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 14 SCC 444 : The Bench comprising of Justice Sinha and Justice KM Joseph had to decide whether the conviction can be upheld when there were multiple conflicting dying declarations. As opposed to the first two declarations, the third one which implicated the Appellant, was made in the presence of a Special Judicial Magistrate, who also proved the same. Given this, the Court considered it to be a corroborative material, ie, supporting other evidence which already pointed to the involvement of the Appellant. The Bench upheld the conviction. Nevertheless, given that the Appellant had already served 15 years in custody, the Bench directed that he be provided with necessary legal support to seek a remission in his sentence.
  • Benedict Denis Kinni v. Tulip Brian Miranda: The bench of Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha, JJ was called upon to decide whether the High Court in exercise of its Constitutional jurisdiction conferred under Article 226 of Constitution of India can pass an order interdicting a legal fiction engrafted in a State enactment, it held : “The power under Article 226 of the Constitution overrides any contrary provision in a Statute and the power of the High Court under Article 226 cannot be taken away or abridged by any contrary provision in a Statute.” Read more 

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