Know Thy Judge| Justice B.R. Gavai

Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai was born on 24th November, 1960. At the age of 25, he enrolled as an advocate and started practicing at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. He served both as a government pleader as well as a government prosecutor[1]. He was appointed as a judge of the Bombay High Court in 2003 and served in that position for 16 years before being elevated to become judge of the Supreme Court. The collegium in recommending him gave due weight to his seniority, integrity, merit and due representation in the Supreme Court.[2].

Some important judgments that Justice BR Gavai has been a part of 

Fertico Marketing and Investment Pvt. Ltd. v. Central Bureau of Investigation, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 938

The bench of AM Khanwilkar and BR Gavai, JJ  held that not obtaining prior consent of the State Government under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DPSE Act) would not vitiate the investigation unless the illegality in the investigation can be shown to have brought about miscarriage of justice or caused prejudice to the accused.

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Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 637

A 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, JJ has asked J&K administration to review all orders imposing curbs on telecom and internet services in the state in a week and put them in public domain. 

“The existing Suspension Rules neither provide for a periodic review nor a time limitation for an order issued under the Suspension Rules. Till this gap is filled, the Review Committee constituted under Rule 2(5) of the Suspension Rules must conduct a periodic review within seven working days of the previous review, in terms of the requirements under Rule 2(6).”

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Foundations for Media Professionals v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 453

A 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, JJ has constituted a three-member committee to look into demand for allowing 4G mobile internet in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Noticing that since the issues involved affect the State and the nation, the Court found it appropriate to constitute a Special Committee comprising of the following Secretaries at national, as well as State, level to look into the prevailing circumstances and immediately determine the necessity of the continuation of the restrictions in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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In re: Prashant Bhushan, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 698

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has sentenced advocate Prashant Bhushan with a fine or Re.1/­ (Rupee one) to be deposited with the Registry by 15.09.2020, failing which he shall undergo a simple imprisonment for a period of three months and further be debarred from practising in this Court for a period of three years. It had found advocate Prashant guilty of criminal contempt on 14.08.2020 in the suo motu contempt petition initiated against him after he criticised the Supreme Court and the sitting and former CJIs in a couple of tweets. 

“If we do not take cognizance of such conduct it will give a wrong message to the lawyers and litigants throughout the country. However, by showing magnanimity, instead of imposing any severe punishment, we are sentencing the contemnor with a nominal fine of  Re.1/­ (Rupee one).”

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Sudru v. State of Chattisgarh, (2019) 8 SCC 333

In this case of murder of son by the accused father, on the basis of circumstantial evidence, last seen evidence and non-explanation of incriminating evidence by accused, conviction of accused confirmed. 

Union of India v. Unicorn Industries, (2019) 10 SCC 575

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, MR Shah and BR Gavai, JJ., held that by invoking the doctrine of promissory estoppel, the Union of India cannot be estopped from withdrawing the exemption from payment of Excise Duty in respect of certain products, which exemption is granted by an earlier notification; when the Union of India finds that such a withdrawal is necessary in the public interest.

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Union of India v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1279

The 3-judge Bench of Arun Mishra, MR Shah and BR Gavai, JJ., partially set aside the 2-judge verdict in Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 6 SCC 454. It was held that some portions of the said verdict were against the concept of protective discrimination in favour of down­trodden classes under Article 15(4) of the Constitution and also impermissible within the parameters laid down by this Court for exercise of powers under Article 142 of Constitution of India.  The Court said,

“Can’t treat all of them as a liar.”

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Sarika v. Administrator, Mahakaleshwar Mandir Committee, Ujjain, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 704

 In a bid to prevent the deterioration of Shivlinga at Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain, the 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has given the eight directions.

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Rishad Murtaza v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 377

 The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, SK Kaul and BR Gavai, JJ has asked the Central Government to extend the order passed in In Re Contagion of COVID-19 Virus in Children Protection Homes, to Nari Niketans also, if feasable.

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Tata Housing Development Company Ltd. v. Aalok Jagga, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1419

In the matter concerning the housing project, on the ground that the area in question falls within the catchment area of Sukhna Lake and is 123 meters away from the boundary of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, the 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, MR Shah and BR Gavai, JJ has held that such projects cannot be permitted to come up within such a short distance from the wildlife sanctuary. Stating that the entire exercise smacks of arbitrariness on the part of Government including functionaries, the bench said that the Court has to perform its duty in such a scenario when the authorities have failed to protect the wildlife sanctuary eco­sensitive zone. It said,

The entire exercise of obtaining clearance relating to the project is quashed. We regret that such a scenario has emerged in the matter and that it involved a large number of MLAs of Punjab Legislative Assembly.

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*Associate Editor, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1]SC Collegium recommends Justices BR Gavai, Surya Kant for elevation to top court, Scroll, last updated May 09, 2019,

[2] Supreme Court Observer, Judges’ archive

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