“Policy for compassionate appointment, which has the force of law, must not discriminate on any of the grounds mentioned in Article 16(2) of the Constitution, including that of ‘descent’”

 –  Justice P.S. Narasimha in Mukesh Kumar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 229

Early Life and Career

Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha was born on 3rd May, 1963 to Justice Kodanda Ramayya, who was also a judge and an eminent legal writer. Brought up in Hyderabad, Justice Narasimha passed his LL. B in 1988 and started practicing in Andhra Pradesh High Court. Thereafter he moved to New Delhi to practice at the Supreme Court of India and in 2008, he was designated as a Senior Advocate[1]. In May 2014, Justice Narasimha was appointed as the Additional Solicitor General. He held this position till 15th December, 2018[2], having resigned from the post citing personal reasons[3]. He was also a member of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).[4]

Prominent Cases as a Counsel

During his tenure as a Senior Advocate, Justice Narasimha played a key role in many crucial cases; most notable among them being the BCCI matters and Ayodhya Land Dispute. In the BCCI matters, Justice Narasimha was not only an amicus curiae (friend of the court), later on, he was also appointed as a mediator in all the matters relating to BCCI pending before the Supreme Court.

In M. Siddiq (Ram Janmabhumi Temple-5 J.) v. Suresh Das, (2020) 1 SCC 1 , also known as the Ayodhya Land Dispute; Justice Narasimha was one of the many prominent counsels who appeared in the matter. Narasimha’s arguments in the matter centered around the belief of Hindus that the site in question is the birthplace of Lord Ram – “The test, which has to be applied for marshalling the evidence is the standard of preponderance of probability… proof of fact depends upon the belief or probability of the fact looking to the circumstances of the particular case”.

Justice Narasimha also represented the Indian side at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the Italian Marines Case[5].

As Judge of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Collegium issued a Statement whereby the elevation of P.S. Narasimha as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India was recommended.  Based on the recommendation, the President of India then appointed him and 8 others as Judges of the Supreme Court.

♦Did You Know? Justice P.S. Narasimha is the 9th lawyer to be directly elevated as Supreme Court Judge[6].

Notable decisions by Justice Narasimha  

Sushil Kumar v. State of Haryana, (2022) 3 SCC 203

In a case where a Constable’s name was recommended by the Superintendent of Police but the same was dropped down by the Inspector General of Police for promotion under the 10% quota of outstanding performance for inclusion in the B-I List for promotion to the post of Head Constable in the year 2004, the bench of KM Joseph and PS Narsimha, JJ has held that mere recommendation of the SP at the initial stage is not sufficient to claim a right for promotion. Read more

Mukesh Kumar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 229

Holding that the condition imposed by the Railway Board circular that compassionate appointment cannot be granted to children born from the second wife of a deceased employee is discriminatory, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha, JJ., held that an applicant cannot be denied consideration under the scheme of compassionate appointments only because he is the son of the second wife of his father.

“Familial origins include the validity of the marriage of the parents of a claimant of compassionate appointment and the claimant’s legitimacy as their child. The policy cannot discriminate against a person only on the ground of descent by classifying children of the deceased employee as legitimate and illegitimate and recognizing only the right of legitimate descendant.”  

Read more

RTA v. Shaju, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 209

The Division Bench comprising of K.M. Joseph and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., held that Rule 174(2)(c) of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules,1989 is valid and salutary and does not go beyond the scope of Section 83 of the MV Act, 1988. While interpreting the expression “same nature” the Bench observed that such expressions are better kept open ended to enable courts to subserve the needs of changing circumstances. The Bench expressed,

“…the assumption in the impugned judgment that the expression “same nature” is confined only to, mean “a bus by bus, a mini-bus by mini-bus and not bus by a minibus….” is not a correct way to read the provision. There is no need to restrict the meaning of an expression ‘same nature’.”  

Read more

Amar Nath v. Gian Chand, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 102

The Division Bench of K.M. Joseph and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., held that mere writing the word “cancelled” or drawing a line would not render Power of Attorney null and void as there must be cancellation and it must further be brought to the notice of the third party at any rate. Read more

Sukh Dutt Ratra v. State of H.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 410

In a case where the bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., were posed with the question as to whether the State can, merely on the ground of delay and laches, evade its legal responsibility towards those from whom private property has been expropriated, answering in negative, the bench held that the State cannot shield itself behind the ground of delay and laches as there cannot be a ‘limitation’ to doing justice. Read more

Olx India B.V. v. State of Haryana, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 286

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narsimha, JJ has set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order directing that the advertisements on OLX platform be deleted and be re-listed only after attaching an open PDF file along with each advertisement containing proofs and certificates. Read more

NOIDA v. Yunus, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 138

The bench of KM Joseph and PS Narasimha, JJ were called upon to decide whether the Award passed by a Lok Adalat under 0 can form the basis for redetermination of compensation as contemplated under Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Court held that an application under Section 28A of the LA Act cannot be maintained on the basis of an award passed by the Lok Adalat under Section 20 of LSA Act. Read more

Ramesh Chandra Srivastava v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 741

The bench of KM Joseph and PS Narasimha, JJ., reiterated the test laid down for invoking the power under Section 319 CrPC and has held that only when strong and cogent evidence occurs against a person from the evidence the power under Section 319, CrPC should be exercised. The power cannot be exercised in a casual and cavalier manner. Read more

Irfan v. State of M. P

The 3-Bench comprising of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., issued notice to Madhya Pradesh government on being appraised that there is a policy of incentivising public prosecutors for obtaining capital punishments in matters prosecuted by them. Read more

B.A. Umesh v. Union of India

 While addressing an appeal alleging solitary confinement of a death row convict, the 3-Judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., directed local inspection by a District Judge to throw light on the ground situation. Read more   

†Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

[1] Soon To- be Judge P.S. Narasimha, Times of India

[2] P.S. Narasimha, SC Observer

[3]  PS Narasimha resigns a ASG, Economic Times

[4] Legal Aid, Supreme Court of India

[5] Italian Marines Case, NDTV

[6] PS Narsimha elevation, Live Law

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