Know Thy Judge| Justice Krishna Murari

“A litigant has one lifetime yet litigation has several lives to live. If society stands denied of justice, we are not only failing our duty and constitution but are enslaving a generation of litigants. For speedy disposal effective docket management is required and is the need of the hour.”

-Justice Krishna Murari[1]

Born on 09-07- 1958, obtained LL.B degree from Allahabad University, Allahabad. He was enrolled as an Advocate on 23-12-1981. He practiced in the Allahabad High Court for over 22 years in Civil, Constitutional, Company, Service and Revenue matters and has specialized in Civil Revenue and Service cases. He was Standing Counsel of U.P. State, Yarn Company Limited, Kanpur, Northern Railway Primary Co-operative Bank Limited, U.P. State Textile Corporation Limited, Kanpur, U.P. Co-operative Spinning Mills Federation Limited, Kanpur and Bundelkhand University, Jhansi.

He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 07-01- 2004 and appointed as permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 18-08-2005.

He took over as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh on 02-06-2018. Read more

Elevated as Judge of Supreme Court of India on 23-09-2019. Read more

Notable Supreme Court Judgments 

Jigya Yadav v. CBSE, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 415

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that the right to control one’s identity is a fundamental right and the Central Board of Secondary Education cannot deny such right by refusing to allow a person to change their name in the Certificates without giving them reasonable opportunity.

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Kalparaj Dharamshi v. Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 204

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari has explained the true test to determine whether a party has waived its rights or not. It has held that for establishing waiver, it will have to be established, that a party expressly or by its conduct acted in a manner, which is inconsistent with the continuance of its rights. There can be no waiver unless the person who is said to have waived, is fully informed as to his rights and with full knowledge about the same, he intentionally abandons them.

“As such, for applying the principle of waiver, it will have to be established, that though a party was aware about the relevant facts and the right to take an objection, he has neglected to take such an objection.”

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Amit Sahni v. Commissioner of Police, (2020) 10 SCC 439

The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has, in the Shaheen Bagh protests matter, held that while there exists the right to peaceful protest against a legislation, public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely.

“Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters. We cannot accept the plea of the applicants that an indeterminable number of people can assemble whenever they choose to protest.”

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Kalparaj Dharamshi v. Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 204

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari has held that the commercial wisdom of Committee of Creditors (CoC) is not to be interfered with, excepting the limited scope as provided under Sections 30 and 31 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

Taking note of various decision of the Supreme Court, the Court held that the legislative scheme is unambiguous. The legislature has consciously not provided any ground to challenge the “commercial wisdom” of the individual financial creditors or their collective decision before the Adjudicating Authority and that the decision of CoC’s ‘commercial wisdom’ is made non-justiciable.

“… the appeal is a creature of statute and that the statute has not invested jurisdiction and authority either with NCLT or NCLAT, to review the commercial decision exercised by CoC of approving the resolution plan or rejecting the same.”

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Amar Nath Chaubey v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1019

The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, JJ had IPS Officer Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj as the senior officer, State of Uttar Pradesh to carry out further investigation in the Ram Bihari Chaubey murder case after it found the investigation and closure report submitted by the UP Police to be “extremely casual and perfunctory in nature”.

Directing that IPS Officer Pankaj will be free to select a team of competent officers of his choice, the Court directed that

“the investigation must be concluded within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, unless extension is required, and the final report be placed before this Court. The Director General of Police (DGP), Uttar Pradesh shall do the needful.”

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Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corporation, (2021) 2 SCC 1

e bench of NV RamanaSanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, JJ has overruled the ratio in Himangni Enterprises v. Kamaljeet Singh Ahluwalia, (2017) 10 SCC 706 wherein it was held that landlord-tenant disputes governed by the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, are not arbitrable as this would be contrary to public policy.

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Amar Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine SC 826

Giving benefit of doubt to the accused convicted under Section 302 IPC r/w Section 34 IPC, the 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Anirudhha Bose and Krishna Muraji, JJ reiterated that Court can and may act on the testimony of single eye-witness provided he is wholly reliable.

“… the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond doubt the appellants therefore must be given benefit of doubt.”

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V.N. Krishna Murthy v. Ravikumar, (2020) 9 SCC 501

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the appellants held the focus to question the judgment and decree passed by the trial court and whether the High Court was justified in rejecting their leave to appeal. Dismissing the appeal the Full Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. RavindraBhat, JJ., held,

“Section 96 and 100 CPC do not enumerate the categories of persons who can file an appeal. However, it is a settled legal proposition that a stranger cannot be permitted to file an appeal in any proceedings unless he satisfies the Court that he falls in the category of aggrieved persons. It is only where a judgment and decree prejudicially affects a person who is not party to the proceedings, he can prefer an appeal with the leave of the appellate court.”

Sorathia Bindi v. State of Gujarat, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 419

In a case where the Gujarat High Court had stayed the arrest a person accused for offences under sections 376(2)(F), 376(2)(N), 377, 354(A), 354(D), 503, 506(1) and 509 of IPC and sections 66(E) and 67(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the bench of BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has remitted the matter to the High Court and has asked to record the reasons in support of its order.

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In Re Prashant Bhushan, (2021) 1 SCC 745

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ had, in a 108-pages long verdict, held advocate Prashant guilty of criminal contempt 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. It held,

“The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing of ‘criminal contempt’.

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In re: Prashant Bhushan, (2021) 3 SCC 160

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.

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Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Children Protection Homes, In re, (2020) 15 SCC 289

Taking suo motu cognizance of the issue where 35 out of 57 children in a Protection Home at Royapuram, Chennai have been infected with COVID-19 and were hospitalized, the 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ had asked the Health and Family Welfare Department, State of Tamil Nadu and secretary to Social Welfare Department to submit a report giving details of the reasons for the spread of COVID-19 in the said Protection Home.

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Jagmail Singh v. Karamjit Singh, (2020) 5 SCC 178

Under the Evidence Act, 1872 facts had to be established by primary evidence and secondary evidence is only an exception to the rule for which foundational facts had to be established to account for the existence of primary evidence. Section 65 made it clear that secondary evidence may be given with regard to existence, condition or the contents of a document when the original is shown or appears to be in possession or power against whom the document is sought to be produced, or of any person out of reach of, or not subject to, the process of the court, or of any person legally bound to produce it, and when, after notice mentioned in Section 66 such person does not produce it.

It was held that the appellants would be entitled to lead secondary evidence in respect of the will in question. However, such admission of secondary evidence automatically does not attest to its authenticity, truthfulness or genuineness which will have to be established during the course of trial in accordance with the law.

Nirmala Kothari v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 49

The question before the Court was that “What is the extent of care/diligence expected of the employer/insured while employing a driver?”

The Division Bench of Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, JJ., answered that while hiring a driver the employer is expected to verify if the driver has a driving licence. If the driver produces a licence which on the face of it looks genuine, the employer is not expected to further investigate into the authenticity of the licence unless there is cause to believe otherwise. If the employer finds the driver to be competent to drive the vehicle and has satisfied himself that the driver has a driving licence there would be no breach of Section 149(2)(a)(ii) and the insurance company would be liable under the policy. It would be unreasonable to place such a high onus on the insured to make enquiries with RTOs all over the country to ascertain the veracity of the driving licence. However, if the insurance company is able to prove that the owner/insured was aware or had notice that the licence was fake or invalid and still permitted the person to drive, the insurance company would no longer continue to be liable.

The respondent insurance company was held liable to indemnify the appellant.

Arun Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 736

The Division Bench of Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, JJ., observed that offences relating to the demand of dowry are offences against society and not private in nature. Such offences have serious impact upon society and continuance of trial of such cases is founded on the overriding effect of public interests in punishing persons for such serious offences. It is neither an offence arising out of commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or such similar transactions or has any element of civil dispute thus it stands on a distinct footing. In such cases, settlement even if arrived at between the complainant and the accused, the same cannot constitute a valid ground to quash the FIR or the charge-sheet.

Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 50 (1)

The Nation is looking forward to a historic judgment which is pending. It was placed before 3-judge bench of SA Bobde (retired), SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari, JJ. involving the Muslim Women right to pray in Durgah/Mosque. The Supreme Court will decide whether practices prohibiting the entry of women into mosques violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution and whether such a right can be enforced against non-state actors in view of the judgement of the Constitution Bench in the Sabarimala Temple Entry case.

†Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 


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