“It is true that ‘justice hurried is justice buried’, but in the same breath it is also said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’”.
Justice Vineet Saran in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 757
As hon’ble Justice Vineet Saran prepares to call it a day as Supreme Court Judge, we endevour to retrace his trajectory in the field of law
Travelling Back in Time…
Justice Vineet Saran was born in Bijnor (U.P) on 11th May, 1957. He pursued his graduation at Allahabad University in the year 1976 followed by his LL.B. degree which he received in the year 1979/80.
Career as a Counsel [1980-2002]
Justice Saran enrolled as an advocate with the U.P. Bar Council on 28-07-1980. Justice Saran displayed immense versatility during his practice in the Allahabad High Court from 28-07-1980 to 13-02-2002 as he dealt with myriad matters related to the original, constitution, civil and criminal sides. Justice Saran also conducted cases for various private and public sector companies and also as special counsel for the Central and State Governments.
Justice Saran also served as the Additional Advocate General for the State of U.P. in 1995.
High Court Judgeship [2002-2018]
After a thriving career as counsel for almost 22 years, Justice Saran was elevated as permanent Judge of Allahabad High Court on 14-02-2002 where he served 13 years.
In 2015, he was transferred to Karnataka and took oath as Judge of Karnataka High Court on 16-02-2015. During his judgeship in the Karnataka HC, Justice Saran was also the President of Arbitration Centre – An Initiative of the High Court of Karnataka.
He was further promoted as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on February 26th 2016.
Notable High Court Decisions
Some of the prominent decisions rendered by Justice Saran during his time in the High Courts, are listed as follows-
Allahabad High Court
U.P. Power Corporation Ltd. v. Urmila Devi, 2011 SCC OnLine All 152
The 3- Judge Bench comprising of Ferdino Inacio Rebello, C.J. and Vineet Saran and Vikram Nath, JJ., deliberated upon the question that whether the definition of “family” under the U.P. State Electricity Board Dying in Harness Rules, 1975 would include a daughter-in-law. It was observed that a daughter-in-law on the death of her husband, does not cease to be a part of the family – “The concept that such daughter-in-law must go back and stay with her parents is abhorrent to our civilized society. Such daughter-in-law must, therefore, have also right to be considered for compassionate appointment as she is part of the family where she is? married and if staying with her husband’s family. In this context, in our opinion, arbitrariness, as presently existing, can be avoided by including the daughter-in-law in the definition of ‘family’. Otherwise, the definition to that extent, prima facie, would be irrational and arbitrary. The State, therefore, to consider this aspect and take appropriate steps so that a widowed daughter-in-law like a widowed daughter, is also entitled for consideration by way of compassionate appointment, if other criteria is satisfied”.
Bhupendra Nath Tripathi v. State of U.P., 2009 SCC OnLine All 6
The 3-Judge Bench comprising of Ashok Bhushan, Vineet Saran and Sanjay Misra, JJ., dealt with some important questions related to the eligibility criteria for Special Basic Training Course 2007 as per the statutory requirements stated in National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993.
Veenu Gangwar v. State of U.P., 2013 SCC OnLine All 14259
The Division Bench of Vineet Saran and B. Amit Sthalekar, JJ., dealt with a matter related to irregularities in Kshetra Panchayat elections. While allowing the petition, the Judges observed that, “For any democracy to be successful, it has to be strengthened at the grass root level. An elected representative, whether it be at the lowest or highest level, should not be denuded of his powers, except for very valid and good reasons and in accordance with law”.
Karnataka High Court
Sharadabai v. Deputy General Manager, Canara Bank, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8160
The Court in the instant matter, discussed the issue that whether employees who have been imposed punishment of compulsory retirement, are entitled the benefit of pension. It was held that, the Regulations of Canara Bank Service Regulations, 1975 merely provides that employee who is compulsorily retired ‘may be’ granted pension. It does not provide for an employee, who is compulsorily retired, to lay a claim, as of right, for grant of pension.
Nagaraj v. State Bank of Hyderabad, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8225
The Court, while dealing with the issue of eligibility for promotion and suitability for grant of promotion, held that, for promotion to a post after a particular level, it is not the seniority but suitability for the post, which is to be taken into consideration.
Solidus Hi Tech Products Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8575
In the matter related to S. 39(1) of Karnataka Value Added Tax Act, 2003, the Division Bench of Vineet Saran and S. Sujatha, JJ., observed that from the provisions of Section 63A of the KVAT Act, it is clear that once the order of cancellation of the assessment order had been passed by the Revisional Authority, it could not proceed to pass a fresh assessment order but could only direct the Assessing Officer to pass a fresh assessment order.
Orissa High Court
Mohapatra Binders v. State of Odisha, 2017 SCC OnLine Ori 32
The bench of Vineet Saran, C.J. and A.K. Rath and B.R. Sarangi, JJ while answering the issue that whether the petitioners herein, who are small book binding units and cover/text printers of the State of Odisha, would be entitled to exclusive right of State Government work of book binding and printing, under the provisions of Industrial Policy Resolutions (issued by the State Government) as well as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 and the Odisha MSMED Policy of 2009; or can such work be awarded by way of inviting national tender. It was decided that the petitioners would not be entitled to the protection of the IPRs issued by the State Government, as well as MSMED Act, 2006 and the OMSMED Policy framed there under in 2009.
Kalipada Mishra v. State of Odisha, 2016 SCC OnLine Ori 224
The Division Bench of Vineet Saran, C.J. and B.R. Sarangi, J., while deliberating upon the PIL seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus against the opposite parties with regard to the action taken for abolition of the prevailing system of toll collection by demolishing the check gates; observed that the matters fall within the realm of policy decision to be taken by the State Government or authority vested with power under any statute, and the Court should not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to the statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or in abuse of power.
Assaf Ali Khan v. State of Odisha, 2016 SCC OnLine Ori 829
The bench of Vineet Saran, C.J. and B.R. Sarangi, J., in this instant writ petition in the nature of public interest litigation to ensure transparency and fairness in the election of Gram Panchayats and Zilla Parishads made certain observations vis-a-vis the High Court’s jurisdiction to issue any direction to the state legislature to enact a particular law in a particular manner.
Supreme Court [2018-2022]
In 2018, the President of India appointed Justice Vineet Saran as Judge, Supreme Court of India.
Some of the notable decisions that were either rendered by Justice Saran or he was part of, are as follows-
B.L. Kashyap & Sons Ltd. v. JMS Steels & Power Corpn., (2022) 3 SCC 294
While clarifying the law on leave to defend, the Division Bench of Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., held that even if there remains a reasonable doubt about the probability of defence, sterner or higher conditions could be imposed while granting leave to defend but, denying the leave would be ordinarily countenanced only in such cases where the defendant fails to show any genuine triable issue and the Court finds the defence to be frivolous or vexatious. Read more
Nahar Singh v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 332
The division bench of Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose JJ., deliberated on the issue that whether a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence on the basis of a police report in terms of Section 190(1)(b) of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, can issue summons to any person not arraigned as an accused in the police report and whose name also does not feature in column (2) of such report. They held that for summoning persons upon taking cognizance of an offence, the Magistrate has to examine the materials available before him for coming to the conclusion that apart from those sent up by the police some other persons are involved in the offence. These materials need not remain confined to the police report, charge sheet or the F.I.R. A statement made under Section 164 of CrPC could also be considered for such purpose.
Punjab National Bank v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 227
The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, JJ., quashed the confiscation order of Customs and Central Excise Commission confiscating land, building, plant and machinery of Rathi Ispat Ltd. for lacking statutory backing. The Bench observed that the existing law only permit confiscation of goods and no land, building can be confiscated under the Central Excise Rules, 2017.
City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. v. Shishir Realty (P) Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1141
In a case where process of cancellation of a tender was initiated without affording a chance to be heard to the lessees and the tender was cancelled “because of the possibility of larger profits”, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ., and Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, JJ., held that when a contract is being evaluated, the mere possibility of more money in the public coffers, does not in itself serve public interest.
Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao v. State of A.P., (2021) 11 SCC 401
The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held 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 Andhra Pradesh, unconstitutional, as there was no rhyme or reason with the State Government to resort to 100% reservation.
T.N. Medical Officers Assn. v. Union of India, (2021) 6 SCC 568
The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in States and that only States are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate degree courses.
New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 757
The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., held that the District Forum has no power to extend the time for filing the response to the complaint beyond the period of 15 days in addition to 30 days as is envisaged under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The bench was answering the reference relating to the grant of time for filing response to a complaint under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 1
In a significant ruling, a 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and Ravindra Bhat, JJ has unanimously ruled that the protection granted to a person under Section 438 Cr.PC should not invariably be limited to a fixed period; it should inure in favour of the accused without any restriction on time.
Mukesh Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 10 SCC 120
The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., 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.
Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 215:
The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ 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…
State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh, (2020) 8 SCC 1:
5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ upon noticing that SC decision of E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P., (2005) 1 SCC 394, is required to be revisited, 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.”
West U.P. Sugar Mills Association v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2020) 9 SCC 548:
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.
Bhima Razu Prasad v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 210:
The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ held that Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC will not bar prosecution by the investigating agency for offence punishable under Section 193 IPC, which is committed during the stage of investigation.
This is provided that the investigating agency has lodged complaint or registered the case under Section 193, IPC prior to commencement of proceedings and production of such evidence before the trial court. In such circumstance, the same would not be considered an offence committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any Court for the purpose of Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC.
High Court of Madras v. M.C. Subramaniam, (2021) 3 SCC 560
The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ has held that Section 89 of CPC and Section 69-A of Tamil Nadu Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1955 contemplate the refund of court fees in all methods of out-of-court dispute settlement between parties that the Court subsequently finds to have been legally arrived at and not just to those cases where the Court itself refers the parties to any of the alternative dispute settlement mechanisms listed in Section 89 of the CPC.
Amitabha Dasgupta v. United Bank of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 124:
In a case where United Bank of India inadvertently broke the Appellant’s locker, without any just or reasonable cause, even though he had already cleared his pending dues, the bench of MM Shantanagoudar* and Vineet Sarana, JJ Imposed costs of Rs. 5,00,000/ on the Bank to be paid to the Appellant as compensation. The said is to be deducted from the salary of the erring officers, if they are still in service and if they have already retired, the amount of costs should be paid by the Bank. Additionally, the Appellant shall be paid Rs. 1,00,000/- as litigation expense.
Rekha Sengar v. State of M.P., (2021) 3 SCC 729
In the case where the investigative team has seized the sonography machine and made out a strong prima-facie case against the petitioner, the 3-judge bench of MM Shantanagoudar, Vineet Saran and Ajay Rastogi, JJ held no leniency should be granted at this stage as the same may reinforce the notion that the PC&PNDT Act is only a paper tiger and that clinics and laboratories can carry out sex-determination and feticide with impunity.
“A strict approach has to be adopted if we are to eliminate the scourge of female feticide and iniquity towards girl children from our society.”
Gajanan Babulal Bansode v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 4 SCC 494
The 3-Judge Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Indu Malhotra and Vineet Saran, JJ heard the petition challenging the decision of Maharashtra government to appoint 636 additional candidates without consulting MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission. The Bench stated,
“It is well-settled in service jurisprudence that the authority cannot fill up more than the notified number of vacancies advertised, as the recruitment of candidates in excess of the notified vacancies, would be violative of Articles 14 and 16 (1) of the Constitution of India.”
Compack Enterprises India (P) Ltd. v. Beant Singh, (2021) 3 SCC 702
The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ has lucidly explained the law governing consent decree and has held that the well settled law that consent decrees are intended to create estoppels by judgment against the parties, thereby putting an end to further litigation between the parties, does not apply as a blanket rule in all cases.
CIT v. Reliance Energy Ltd., (2021) 4 SCC 237
Interpreting the true scope of Section 80-IA(5) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, JJ., held that the scope of sub-section (5) of Section 80- IA of the Act is limited to determination of quantum of deduction under sub-section (1) of Section 80-IA of the Act by treating ‘eligible business’ as the ‘only source of income’.
Bangalore Electricity Supply Co. Ltd. v. E.S. Solar Power (P) Ltd., (2021) 6 SCC 718
The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, JJ shed light on how Courts should proceed while interpreting contracts. Referring to various authorities, here is what the Court concluded that the duty of the Court is not to delve deep into the intricacies of human mind to explore the undisclosed intention, but only to take the meaning of words used i.e. to say expressed intentions.
Vinod Dua v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 414
Upholding the citizens’ right to criticise the government, the bench of UU Lalit* and Vineet Saran, JJ, has quashed the FIR lodged against Journalist Vinod Dua over his YouTube show on communal riots in Delhi earlier this year. The Court held,
“… a citizen has a right to criticize or comment upon the measures undertaken by the Government and its functionaries, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder.”
Imperia Structures Ltd. v. Anil Patni, (2020) 10 SCC 783
The bench of UU Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ held that the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA Act) does not bar the initiation of proceedings by allottees against the builders under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
CBI v. Mohd. Parvez Abdul Kayuum, (2019) 12 SCC 1
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra allowed the appeals of CBI and the Gujarat government challenging the High Court order by which the convicts were absolved of murder charges in the case. The Court, however, dismissed a PIL filed by NGO “Centre for Public Interest Litigation” (CPIL) seeking a court-monitored fresh probe in the Haren Pandya murder case.
Siddaling v. State, (2018) 9 SCC 621
The Bench comprising of R. Banumathi and Vineet Saran, JJ., ordered for refusal of modification in quantum of sentence as sought for by the appellant; on the reasoning that the conviction of the appellant under Section 498-A and 306 IPC as given by the High Court is to be maintained and any leniency in the same would be a misplaced one. Read more.
Decisions that initiated broader discourse
Safeguarding Courts and Protecting Judges (Death of Additional Sessions Judge, Dhanbad): In Re.
While addressing the issue pertaining to the unfortunate demise of the Judicial Officer Uttam Anand, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, CJ., Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, JJ., emphasized the institutional need to create a safe and secure environment for judicial officers and legal fraternity. A suo motu case was registered by the Supreme Court for addressing the issue of safeguarding courts and protecting judges.
Prathvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 727:
A 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has upheld the constitutional validity of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, and said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only in cases where a prima facie case is not made out. In the unanimous verdict, Justice Mishra penned the opinion for himself and Justice Saran whereas Justice Bhat wrote a separate but concurring opinion.
Christian Medical College Vellore Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 423:
The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and MR Shah, JJ has held that prescribing uniform examination of NEET for admissions in the graduate and postgraduate professional courses of medical as well as dental science is not in violation of the rights of the unaided/aided minority to administer institutions under Articles 19(1) (g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution.
Vijay Kurle, In re, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 407 and Rashid Khan Pathan v. Vijay Kurle, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 711:
After finding advocates Vijay Kurle, Nilesh Ojha and Rashid Khan Pathan guilty of levelling scandalous allegations against Justice RF Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran, the bench of Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ sentenced all 3 to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 3 months each with a fine of Rs. 2000/-. It further said that in default of payment of fine, each of the defaulting contemnors shall undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of 15 days. Also Read:
- SC finds all 3 advocates guilty of contempt
- All 3 advocates to undergo 3 months simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 2000
- Exemplary cost of Rs. 25, 000 on Rashid Khan Pathan for filing repetitive applications seeking recall of May 4 order
†Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has put this report together
 Refer fn. 2