Know Thy Judge | Justice M. R. Shah

Early life


Born on 16-05-1958, Justice Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah graduated (B.Sc.) in 1979 and completed his LL.B from Gujarat University in 1982. He started his career as an advocate on 19-07-1982 and practiced in the Gujarat High Court in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Taxation, Labour, Service and Company matters and specialized in Land, Constitutional, Education, Excise, Custom matters.[1]

Later on, Justice M R Shah was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Gujarat High Court on 07-03-2004 and was made a permanent Judge on 22-06-2005. In August, 2018 he was appointed as Chief Justice of Patna High Court and in the same year, on 02-11-2018 he got elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. He is due to retire on May 15, 2023.[2]


Career as an Advocate [1982-2005]


Justice M R Shah practiced as an advocate in the High Court of Gujarat immediately after completing his degree in Law. He was the Additional Standing Counsel for Central government and Retainer Counsel for C.B.I. He had also represented various Municipalities, Nagarpalikas, Panchayats, educational Institutions and Insurance Companies. Having served the High Court of Gujarat as an advocate for more than 20 years, Justice M R Shah had appeared in large number of cases in various branches of law including matters of constitutional importance and involving great public interest.[3]

Following are some of the significant cases represented by Justice M R Shah as a counsel:

Elecon Engineering Co. Ltd. v. Union of India, 2002 SCC OnLine Guj 465

Alembic Glass Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, 2002 SCC OnLine Guj 457

Rutu Auto Gas Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India, 2000 SCC OnLine Guj 498

Taluka Development Officer v. Dhurabhai Virabhai Vankar, 2002 SCC OnLine Guj 606 

Vira Veja Sondarva v. Conservator of Forest, 2000 SCC OnLine Guj 605


Notable Judgments at High Court of Gujarat [2005-2018]


 

Gujarat State Road Transport Corpn. v. Firoze M. Mogal, 2013 SCC OnLine Guj 8638

The 5-judge Bench of Ravi R. Tripathi, Jayant Patel, M.R. Shah, J.B. Pardiwala and A.G. Uraizee, JJ. had put an end to the controversial issue by holding that in a petition for a relief under Article 226 of the Constitution, the Tribunal whose order is impugned in the petition must be made a party to the petition so that the writ sought from the Court can go against the Tribunal but if the petition is for a relief under Article 227 of the Constitution, the Tribunal, whose order is impugned in the petition, need not be made a party to the petition. The jurisdiction which the High Court exercises under Article 227 is of superintendence, a jurisdiction somewhat analogous to the revisional jurisdiction which the High Courts have under diverse statutes. By entertaining a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution, the High Court does not seek to exercise jurisdiction to issue any high prerogative writ.


Asset Reconstruction Co. (India) Ltd. v. Revenue Authority, 2016 SCC OnLine Guj 9228

The 3-judge Bench of M.R. Shah, J.B. Pardiwala and N.V. Anjaria, JJ. held that the power of attorney in question and the rights conferred in favour of the power of attorney holder were liable to be and/or subjected to the stamp duty under Article 45(f) of the Stamp Act. No error and/or illegality had been committed by the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority in holding that the power of attorney in question is subjected to stamp duty as per Article 45(f) of the Stamp Act.


Vijaysinh v. State of Gujarat, 2014 SCC OnLine Guj 14498

The 3-judge Bench of Jayant Patel, M.R. Shah and K.S. Jhaveri, JJ. had reached to the findings that if the order of detention is challenged at pre-execution stage under Article 226 of the Constitution, the High Court by way of self-imposed restriction may examine as to whether the case is covered by the criteria laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Addl. Secy. To the Govt. of India v. Alka Subhash Gadia (Smt.) (supra) and Deepak Bajaj v. State of Maharashtra, reported in (2008) 16 SCC 14 (supra) and thereafter may call for the relevant record from the detaining authority, but such would depend upon sound exercise of judicial discretion of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution and it cannot be said that in all cases, it would be obligatory for the High Court to satisfy itself as to whether the detention order is passed in consonance with the scheme of the enactment under which the detention order is passed or whether the detention order suffers from the vice of illegality or not, save and except the criteria as laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Addl. Secy. To the Govt. of India v. Alka Subhash Gadia (Smt.) and Deepak Bajaj v. State of Maharashtra, reported in (2008) 16 SCC 14.


Miru Adam Rahima v. State of Gujarat, 2006 SCC OnLine Guj 83

R.S. Garg and M.R. Shah, JJ. challenging the constitutional validity of Section 2(e), definition of “Private Armed Force”, Section 3, Section 4 and Section 5 of the Gujarat Prohibition of Maintenance of Private Armed Force Act, 1989 (9 of 1989)  inter alia that a bare perusal of the provisions of law would show that these are ultra vires the Constitution, affect the fundamental rights of the petitioners and the landlords and adversely affect their right to livelihood. A bare reading of Sections 2(e), 3, 4 and 5 do not show that it puts any check on any of the fundamental right of a Simrakha/member of the Private Armed Force nor does it curtail the rights or makes an onslaught on the rights of a landholder to have a private armed guard. After giving our due and anxious consideration to the provisions of law and for the reasons aforesaid, we do not find any reason to hold that the above-referred provisions are ultra vires the Constitution.


Remarkable Judgments at the Supreme Court


[Covid-19] Oxygen Supply

Union of India v. Mohammed Areef Jameel, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 377

The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ has dismissed the petition filed by the Central Government challenging the Karnataka High Court decision directing it to increase the cap on the supply of oxygen to the State of Karnataka with immediate effect to 1200 MT per day.

Read more…


[Covid-19] National Task Force

Union of India v. Rakesh Malhotra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 375

With the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketing and nation facing severe shortage of oxygen, leading to several deaths, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ has set up a 12-member National Task Force to formulate a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to the States and UTs.

(i) The methodology adopted by the Union Government for computing the requirement of oxygen of the States and Union Territories1 ; (ii) The need to manage available resources of oxygen to optimise their availability for the National Capital Territory of Delhi2 , which is dependent on: · An efficient supply chain; · Proper distribution of oxygen from the supply points to hospitals; and · Building buffer stocks of oxygen; and (iii) Actual availability of oxygen.

Read more…


Permanent Commission to Women in Army

Lt. Col. Nitisha v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 261

In major win for women Officer in Indian Army, the division bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and MR Shah, JJ has held that the administrative requirement imposed by the Indian Army authorities while considering the case of the Women Short Service Commissions Officers (WSSCO) for the grant of Permanent Commission (PC), of benchmarking these officers with the officers lowest in merit in the corresponding male batch is arbitrary and irrational. The Court hence, directed that the such requirement shall not be enforced while implementing the decision in Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya;, (2020) 7 SCC 469.

 Read more…


Loan Moratorium Case

Small Scale Industries Manufacturers Association v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 246

In an important verdict concerning the Small Scale Industries, particularly the MSMEs, facing the financial strain due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, the 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah*, JJ has held that there shall not be any charge of interest on interest/compound interest/penal interest from any of the borrowers who availed RBI’s loan moratorium scheme for the period between March 1, 2020 till August 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Court held that whatever the amount is recovered by way of interest on interest/compound interest/penal interest for the period during the moratorium, the same shall be refunded and be adjusted/given credit in the next instalment of the loan account.

The Court, however, refused to extend the moratorium period and also refused to grant the relief of total waiver of interest. 

Read more…


Insolvency Bankruptcy Code

Arun Kumar Jagatramka v. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 220

The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and MR Shah, JJ has held that a person who is ineligible under Section 29A of the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) to submit a resolution plan, is also barred from proposing a scheme of compromise and arrangement under Section 230 of the Companies Act, 2013.

“Section 29A has been construed to be a crucial link in ensuring that the objects of the IBC are not defeated by allowing “ineligible persons”, including but not confined to those in the management who have run the company aground, to return in the new avatar of resolution applicants.”

Read more…


Constitutionality of GST on lotteries

Skill Lotto Solutions v. Union of India2020 SCC OnLine SC 990

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ has upheld the constitutionality of imposition of GST on lotteries, betting and gambling.

Whether the inclusion of actionable claim in the definition of goods as given in Section 2(52) of Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 is contrary to the legal meaning of goods and unconstitutional?

The inclusion of actionable claim in definition “goods” as given in Section 2(52) of Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 is not contrary to the legal meaning of goods nor it is in conflict with the definition of goods given under Article 366(12).

“The Constitution framers were well aware of the definition of goods as occurring in the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 when the Constitution was enforced. By providing an inclusive definition of goods in Article 366(12), the Constitution framers never intended to give any restrictive meaning of goods.”

Read more…


 Domestic Violence

[Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 841

“The domestic violence in this country is rampant and several women encounter violence in some form or the other or almost every day, however, it is the least reported form of cruel behavior. A woman resigns her fate to the never-ending cycle of enduring violence and discrimination as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a partner or a single woman in her lifetime.”

Answering important question pertaining to the interpretation and working of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) in relation to right of residence in the shared household, the 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ has held that

“The living of woman in a household has to refer to a living which has some permanency. Mere fleeting or casual living at different places shall not make a shared household.”

Read more…


Coparcenary Rights of Daughters

Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, (2020) 9 SCC 1 ]

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJheld that daughters have right in coparcenary by birth and that it is not necessary that the father coparcener should be living when the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force.

“The conferral of right is by birth, and the rights are given in the same manner with incidents of coparcenary as that of a son and she is treated as a coparcener in the same manner with the same rights as if she had been a son at the time of birth.”

Read more…


Kunal Kamra and Rachita Taneja contempt cases 

Shrirang Katneshwarkar v. Kunal Kamra2020 SCC OnLine SC 1041 and Aditya Kashyap v. Rachita Taneja2020 SCC OnLine SC 1042 

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ issued notice to cartoonist Rachita Taneja and comedian Kunal Kamra in two separate cases relating contemptuous social media posts. Read more…


Death Row Convicts

Ankush Maruti Shinde v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 317

The 3-judge bench of Dr. AK Sikri, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ has acquitted 6 death row convicts and has directed reinvestigation in a crime that was committed in June, 2003. The Court was hearing the case where 5 people were brutally killed and a woman was raped. However, the accused were falsely implicated in the matter as they were all nomadic tribes coming from the lower strata of the society and are very poor labourers.

Read more…


 Judgments of the Constitution Bench of which Justice M R Shah has been part of


Land Acquisition

Indore Development Authority v. Manohar Lal Sharma, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 316

In a landmark ruling the 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and Ravindra Bhat, JJ has unanimously held that the land owners who had refused to accept compensation or who sought reference for higher compensation, cannot claim that the acquisition proceedings had lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Land Acquisition Act, 2013).

The bench also held that under the provisions of Section 24(1)(a) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, in case the award is not made as on 1.1.2014, the date of commencement of Act of 2013, there is no lapse of proceedings. Compensation has to be determined under the provisions of Act of 2013.

Read more…


Sub-classification of Scheduled Castes

State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 677

“The aspiration of equal treatment of the lowest strata, to whom the fruits of the reservation have not effectively reached, remains a dream. At the same time, various castes by and large remain where they were, and they remain unequals, are they destined to carry their backwardness till eternity?”

After noticing that a 5-Judge Bench in E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P., (2005) 1 SCC 394, is required to be revisited, the 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has referred the matter to a larger bench. While doing so, the Court observed:

“Reservation was not contemplated for all the time by the framers of the Constitution.  On the one hand, there is no exclusion of those who have come up, on the other hand, if sub¬classification is denied, it would defeat right to equality by treating unequal as equal. “

Read more…


 Applicability of SARFAESI Act to Co­operative Banks

Pandurang Ganpati Chaugale v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 431 

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has held that

“’banking’ relating to co­operatives can be included within the purview of Entry 45 of List I, and it cannot be said to be over inclusion to cover provisions of recovery by co­operative banks in the SARFAESI Act.”

Read more…


NDPS Act

Mukesh v. State (Narcotic Branch of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine SC 700

The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that the accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) is not entitled to an acquittal as a blanket rule merely because the complainant is the investigating officer. The Court said that

“… merely because the informant is the investigator, by that itself the investigation would not suffer the vice of unfairness or bias and therefore on the sole ground that informant is the investigator, the accused is not entitled to acquittal. The matter has to be decided on a case to case basis.”

Read more…


U.P. Sugar Mill

West UP Sugar Mills Association v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 380

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that once the Central Government having exercised the power under Entries 33 and 34 List III of seventh Schedule and fixed the “minimum price”, the State Government cannot fix the “minimum price” of sugarcane. By virtue of Entries 33 and 34 List III of seventh Schedule, both the Central Government as well as the State Government have the power to fix the price of sugarcane. The Court, however, clarified that

“it is always open for the State Government to fix the “advised price” which is always higher than the “minimum price”, in view of the relevant provisions of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966, which has been issued in exercise of powers under Section 16 of the U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1953.”

Read more…


100% reservation for Scheduled Tribe candidates for the post of teachers

Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 383

Holding the Government Office Ms. No.3 dated 10.1.2000 issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women for the post of teachers in the schools in the scheduled areas in the State of Andhra Pradesh, unconstitutional, the 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has held that there was no rhyme or reason with the State Government to resort to 100% reservation.

Read more…


†Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1] https://gujarathighcourt.nic.in/cjjfull?jid=15

[2] https://main.sci.gov.in/chief-justice-judges

[3] https://gujarathighcourt.nic.in/cjjfull?jid=15

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