“When dealing with cases under Section 304-B IPC, a provision legislated to act as a deterrent in the society and curb the heinous crime of dowry demands, the shift in the approach of the courts ought to be from strict to liberal, from constricted to dilated. Any rigid meaning would tend to bring to naught, the real object of the provision. Therefore, a push in the right direction is required to accomplish the task of eradicating this evil which has become deeply entrenched in our society.”
– Justice Hima Kohli
State of M.P. v. Jogendra, (2022) 5 SCC 401
Born on 02-09-1959, Justice Hima Kohli brought up in Delhi. She did her schooling from St. Thomas School and graduated from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi in 1979. After getting her postgraduate degree in History from the University of Delhi, she completed her degree in Law in 1984 from the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi.
As an Advocate
Justice Kohli enrolled as an advocate in the Bar Council of Delhi in 1984 and started practicing at the Courts in Delhi. She joined the chambers of Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare who later was elevated to the position of a Delhi High Court Judge. On the recommendation of Justice Sunanda Bhandare, she joined the chamber of Mr. Y.K. Sabharwal. She then worked at the Chambers of Mr. Vijendra Jain till he himself was elevated as a Delhi High Court judge in 1992 and then continued her practice independently.
Did you know? All the three lawyers, i.e. Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare, Mr. Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr. Vijendra Jain, Justice Kohli worked with became High Court judges while she was working with them.
In 1999, she was appointed as Standing Counsel for the New Delhi Municipal Council at the Delhi High Court. She held this position until she was appointed as Additional Standing Counsel Civil for the Government of NCT Delhi in 2004. She was also the Legal Advisor to various government and private corporations including Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India, and the National Co-operative Development Corporation. She also provided legal aid services with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee.
Justice Hima Kohli had marked her presence in many cases as an advocate. Some of the significant cases represented by her are:
All India Young Lawyers Assn. v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2006 SCC OnLine Del 229
As a Judge
On 29-05-2006, Justice Kohli was appointed as an additional judge in the Delhi High Court she was made permanent judge on 29-08- 2007. During her tenure as a judge in Delhi High Court, she wrote several remakable orders and judgments, including protecting the identity of juveniles accused of crime, calling for inquiries into the detention of prisoners who had already been granted bail, provision of facilities to enable visually-challenged people to study in government educational institutions, etc
Did you know? Justice Hima Kohli was instrumental in passing directions to increase labs to conduct more COVID-19 tests in Delhi and to decrease the wait period for test results from three days to one day.
Justice Kohli was elevated as the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court. She was elevated as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 26-08-2021.
Did you know? Justice Hima Kohli was the 1st woman Chief Justice of Telangana High Court
Justice Kohli is also involved with legal education and legal aid in India. In 2017, she was on the General Counsel of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, in Kolkata. She also served on the council for the National Law University, New Delhi. She became the chairperson of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority from 20-04-2020.
Apart from performing her official duties as a Judge, she takes a keen interest in promoting mediation as an alternative dispute resolution forum, in highlighting the role of the judiciary in preservation of the ecology and environment and the role of Family Courts in resolving family disputes. She has participated in and presented papers at several National and International symposiums and conferences on these subjects.
Did you know? Justice Hima Kohli wrote 21 judgements till date after been elevated to Supreme Court.1
Notable Judgements at Supreme Court
“Promise Of Freebies By Political Parties May Push State Towards Bankruptcy”, Says Supreme Court: 4 Issues Referred To A Larger Bench
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar, JJ has referred, the matter relating to promise of freebies by political parties as a part of their election manifesto or during election speeches, to a larger Bench after observing that,
“Freebies may create a situation wherein the State Government cannot provide basic amenities due to lack of funds and the State is pushed towards imminent bankruptcy. In the same breath, we should remember that such freebies are extended utilizing tax payers money only for increasing the popularity of the party and electoral prospects.”
[Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1098,]
IBC prevails over Customs Act once moratorium is imposed; CBIC has limited jurisdiction, cannot initiate recovery of dues
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana*, CJ and JK Maheshwari and Hima Kohli, JJ has held that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) would prevail over the Customs Act, 1962 to the extent that once moratorium is imposed in terms of Sections 14 or 33(5) of the IBC as the case may be, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) only has a limited jurisdiction to assess/determine the quantum of customs duty and other levies as it does not have the power to initiate recovery of dues by means of sale/confiscation, as provided under the Customs Act.
[Sundresh Bhat v. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CIVIL APPEAL No. 7667 of 2021, decided on 26.08.2022]
‘Nothing survives after filing of Closure Report’; Supreme Court dismisses plea on sanction to prosecute UP CM Yogi Adityanath in 2007 Hate Speech case
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar*, JJ has dismissed the Special Leave to Appeal in the hate speech case relating to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
[Parvez Parwaz v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1103]
PM Modi Security Lapse: Justice Indu Malhotra headed Enquiry Committee submits report; Supreme Courts asks Central and Punjab Governments to take further action
After Enquiry Committee headed by Justice Indu Malhotra, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, had submitted the report on the alleged breach of security that left Prime Minister Narendra Modi stuck on a highway in Punjab for 20 minutes on 05.01 2022, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has sent the report to the Central and State Government for appropriate action against delinquent officers.
“War of words between them is no solution. It may rather impair the need of a robust mechanism to respond at such a critical juncture.”
[Lawyers’ Voice v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1096]
Supreme Court directs Haryana Discoms to pay compound interest on carrying cost to Adani Power from the date of Change of Law
In a big win for Adani Power Limited, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJI and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli*, JJ has directed Haryana Discoms to pay interest on carrying cost in favour of Adani Power for the period between the year 2014, when the FGD was installed, till the year 2021.
[Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd v. Adani Power (Mundra) Ltd, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1068]
Pegasus| ‘National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from’. The initially reluctant Supreme Court finally decides to interfere
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has appointed an Expert Committee to look into the truth or falsity of the allegations in the Pegasus Spyware case, “taking into account the public importance and the alleged scope and nature of the large-scale violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country.”
“This Court has always been conscious of not entering the political thicket. However, at the same time, it has never cowered from protecting all from the abuses of fundamental rights.”
[Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 985]
Interpretation of Schedule X of the Constitution vis-à-vis Disqualification; Speaker/Governor’s powers; Judicial Review: CJI led 3-judge bench refers matter to 5-judge Constitution bench
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJI and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has referred the question relating to interpretation of Schedule X of the Constitution pertaining to disqualification, as well as the powers of the Speaker and the Governor and the power of judicial review thereof, to the 5-judge Constitution bench.
[Subhash Desai v. Principal Secretary, Governor of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1062]
Sections 3 and 5 of the 1988 Benami Property law “still-born” and “unconstitutional”; 2016 Amendment can only apply prospectively
In a big judgment on the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 [1988 Act], the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJI* and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has held that Section 3 (criminal provision) read with Section 2(a) and Section 5 (confiscation proceedings) of the 1988 Act are overly broad, disproportionately harsh, and operate without adequate safeguards in place and were unconstitutional from their inception. The Court observed that both these provisions were still-born law and never utilized in the first place.
“The continued presence of an unconstitutional law on the statute book, or the claim that such law was not challenged before Constitutional Courts, does not prevent this Court from holding that such unconstitutional laws cannot enure to the benefit of or be utilized to retroactively amend laws to cure existing constitutional defects. If such curing is allowed, then Article 20(1) of the Constitution would be rendered nugatory.”
[Union of India v. Ganpati Dealcom (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1064]
Lack of enthusiasm of ACB, ADGP not relevant for deciding bail application of accused; SC stays Karnataka HC order against ADGP Seemant Kumar Singh
In a bail application, after the single judge Bench of Karnataka High Court criticised the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) for their lack of enthusiasm, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has observed that the alleged involvement of the ADGP, and the enthusiasm (or lack thereof) of the ACB officers are irrelevant and beyond the ambit of bail proceedings.
[Seemant Kumar Singh v. Mahesh PS, Diary No(s).20525/2022, order dated 18.07.2022]
Confessional Statements made under Section 67 of NDPS Act inadmissible
In a case relating to a drug racket spread across three States namely, U.P., Punjab and Rajasthan, the 3-Judge Bench of N. V. Ramana, CJ., and Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli*, JJ., reversed the impugned order of Delhi High Court releasing the respondent-accused on post-arrest bail.
“The length of the period of his custody or the fact that the charge-sheet has been filed and the trial has commenced are by themselves not considerations that can be treated as persuasive grounds for granting relief to the respondent under Section 37 of the NDPS Act.”
[Narcotics Control Bureau v. Mohit Aggarwal, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 891]
Madras High Court’s decision to keep enquiry report in a sealed cover in SP Velumani graft case doesn’t sit well with Supreme Court
In the case where the Madras High Court had ordered an enquiry and obtained a report without furnishing a copy thereof to Tamil Nadu Minister SP Velumani in a corruption case and unceremoniously closed the writ petition, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ* and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has held that when the State has not pleaded any specific privilege which bars disclosure of material utilized in the earlier preliminary investigation, there is no good reason for the High Court to have permitted the report to have remained shrouded in a sealed cover.
“It was the High Court which had ordered that a preliminary enquiry be conducted and a report be submitted by the special investigating officer. However, once the enquiry was completed, the High Court failed to even peruse the said report. Rather, the High Court left the decision completely in the hands of the State Government. Such an approach, as adopted by the High Court in the present matter, cannot be countenanced in law.”
[S.P. Velumani v. Arappor Iyakkam, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 663]
Allahabad HC grants bail to a history sheeter only on the basis of parity; prompts SC to lay down illustrative circumstances for cancellation of bail
In a murder case where the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to the main accused only on the basis of parity, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Krishna Murari* and Hima Kohli, JJ has cancelled the bail after observing that the High Court should have taken into consideration factors like the criminal history of the accused, nature of crime, material evidences available, involvement of accused in the said crime, recovery of weapon from his possession, etc.
“There is certainly no straight jacket formula which exists for courts to assess an application for grant or rejection of bail but the determination of whether a case is fit for the grant of bail involves balancing of numerous factors, among which the nature of the offence, the severity of the punishment and a prima facie view of the involvement of the accused are important. This Court does not, normally interfere with an order passed by the High Court granting or rejecting bail to the accused. However, it is equally incumbent upon the High Court to exercise its discretion judiciously, cautiously and strictly in compliance with basic principles laid down in a catena of judgments by this Court.”
[Deepak Yadav v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 672]
Beyond Reasonable Doubt versus Preponderance of Probabilities: Supreme Court explains why circumstances guide the Courts in deciding Right to Private Defence cases
The bench of BR Gavai and Hima Kohli*, J has held that while deciding a case relating to right to private defence, the Court’s assessment would be guided by several circumstances including the position on the spot at the relevant point in time, the nature of apprehension in the mind of the accused, the kind of situation that the accused was seeking to ward off, the confusion created by the situation that had suddenly cropped up resulting the in knee jerk reaction of the accused, the nature of the overt acts of the party who had threatened the accused resulting in his resorting to immediate defensive action, etc.
“The underlying factor should be that such an act of private defence should have been done in good faith and without malice.”
[Ex. Ct. Mahadev v. Border Security Force, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 739]
More than one chargesheet is necessary for invoking provisions of Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015
The Division Bench comprising B.R. Gavai and Hima Kohli, JJ., (Vacation Bench) reversed the order of the Gujarat High Court, by which the applicant was denied the benefit of bail under the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015 (GCTOC Act). The Court held that existence of more than one charge sheet against the accused is essential for invoking the provisions of GCTOC Act.
[Mohamad Iliyas Mohamad Bilal Kapadiya v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 713]
Amazon-Future-Reliance Dispute| SC allows Future Group to approach Delhi HC for continuation of merger deal with Reliance Group
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli, JJ has granted liberty to Future Retail Limited (FRL) to approach the Delhi High Court by filing an application seeking continuation of the NCLT proceedings beyond the 8th Stage i.e. Meeting of Shareholders and creditors.
[Future Coupons (P) Ltd. v. Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 188]
Is Arbitration Tribunal empowered to award compound interest?
The 3-judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, CJ., A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli*, JJ., held that Arbitral Tribunal is empowered to award interest on post award interest.
The instant appeal was filed by UHL Power Co. Ltd. against the order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court disallowing it pre-claim interest i.e., interest from the date when expenses were incurred, till the date of lodging the claim.
[UHL Power Co. Ltd. v. State of H.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 19]
Can Demand of Money for Construction of a House be Treated as a Dowry Demand? SC answers in a 2002 case where a 5-months pregnant woman set herself on fire
In a case where the Madhya Pradesh High Court had held that demand of money for construction of a house cannot be treated as a dowry demand, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli*, JJ has found the said observation erroneous and has held that the word “Dowry” ought to be ascribed an expansive meaning so as to encompass any demand made on a woman, whether in respect of a property or a valuable security of any nature.
“Dowry must first consist of any property or valuable security— the word “any” is a word of width and would, therefore, include within it property and valuable security of any kind whatsoever.”
[State of M.P. v. Jogindra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 33]
Sedition Law under scanner| All pending cases to be kept in abeyance; Centre/States urged not to register fresh cases till Section 124A is reviewed
In the petitions challenging the Constitutionality of Section 124-A of the Penal Code 1860 dealing with the offence of Sedition, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has urged the State and Central Governments to restrain from registering any FIR, continuing any investigation or taking any coercive measures by invoking Section 124A of IPC while the sedition law is under consideration.
[S.G. Vombatkere v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 609]
From investigation till culmination of appeal/revision, victim has right to be heard at every step post the occurrence of an offence
In the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, where the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to the accused Ashish Mishra despite the fact that the ‘victims’ had got disconnected from the online proceedings and could not make effective submissions, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant* and Hima Kohli, JJ had the occasion to decide whether a ‘victim’ as defined under Section 2(wa) CrPC is entitled to be heard at the stage of adjudication of bail application of an accused.
“Victims cannot be expected to be sitting on the fence and watching the proceedings from afar.”
[Jagjeet Singh v. Ashish Mishra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 453]
Wife goes missing from matrimonial home; body found a week later: Circumstances unerringly point to husband’s guilt despite slipshod investigation
Despite a slipshod investigation in a case, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Hima Kohli*, JJ has upheld the conviction of a man guilty of killing his wife within a few months of the marriage on her failing to satisfy the demands of dowry. The deceased Fulwa Devi had gone missing from her matrimonial home and her body was found on the bank of river Barakar after a week.
[Parvati Devi v. State of Bihar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1285]
Notable Judgements at High Court
While religious sentiments of society must be respected, right to life & health of public at large can’t be sacrificed at altar of right to celebrate a festival: HC refuses permission to celebrate Chhat Puja at public places
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while addressing the instant matter observed that, “while religious sentiments of all sections of the society must be respected, the right to life and health of the public at large cannot be sacrificed at the altar of a right to celebrate a festival, however, significant it may be for a particular community.”
“This is the time to scale down to contain the infection and not to escalate the same.”
[Shri Durga Jan Seva Trust v. GNCTD, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1456]
Is the liability of Principal Borrower and Guarantor co-extensive? Court reiterates SC’s position on continuation of SARFAESI proceedings against Guarantor by banks
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while considering the question whether a bank/financial institution can institute or continue with proceedings against a guarantor under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act), when proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 (IB Code) have been initiated against the principal borrower and the same are pending adjudication, found no merit in the petition and dismissed it.
[Kiran Gupta v. State Bank of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1390]
Husband citizen and domicile of USA, Can he raise objections on divorce proceedings filed by wife in India? Court decrypts the law in light of catena of SC’s decisions
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while observing a matrimonial application, observed that divorce petition filed by the respondent/wife read as a whole, does disclose a valid cause of action that can be entertained by the Family Court in India.
“The plaint must be read as a whole to determine as to whether it discloses a cause of action.”
[Karan Goel v. Kanika Goel, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1319]
NLU-Delhi succumbed to GNCTD’s pressure | Notification providing 50% horizontal reservation to candidates having passed qualifying exam from NCT of Delhi — Stayed
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while addressing the matter with regard to domicile reservation policy for the candidates who have passed qualifying examination from Delhi appearing held that,
“It is well settled that when a statute provides for a thing to be done in a particular manner, it has to be done in that manner only.”
[Balvinder Sangwan v. State (NCT) of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 674]
Adultery can only be committed after marriage, allegation of having relationship before marriage cannot be a ground of adultery; Divorce petition dismissed
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, JJ., while addressing a matrimonial appeal filed on behalf of the husband, held that,
“Adultery can only be committed after marriage, allegation of having relationship before marriage cannot be a ground of adultery.”
[Vishal Singh v. Priya, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 638]
Re-opening of country in a phased manner is not a decision, to have been taken in haste; Costs imposed on finding wastage of judicial time
The Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ. while dismissing a petition that challenged the MHA Notification of phased reopening of the country after nationwide lockdown, imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 due to wasting judicial time.
[Arjun Aggarwal v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 642 ]
Non-Provision of Ration | “It is most unacceptable that e-coupons have been distributed in such a large number and yet e-coupon holders are left high and dry”
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while dealing with the issue of non-provision of ration to e-coupon holders directed GNCTD to ensure that ration to be supplied to the said people by evening of 21-05-2020.
“Any non-compliance shall be viewed seriously.”
[Shabnam v. State (NCT) of Delhi, WP(C) No. 3205 of 2020, decided on 10-05-2020]
Second marriage of a mother is by itself not sufficient to deprive her of custody of her biological child
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed by the appellant-father against the judgment of the Family Court whereby his application under Section 25 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 seeking custody of his minor son was rejected.
“The respondent’s remarriage can hardly be a ground for the appellant to claim that being the natural guardian of the child, he has a better right to claim his custody, over the respondent. At the end of the day, the court must examine the facts and circumstances of the case and then come to a conclusion as to whether it would be in the better interest of the minor child to remain in the custody of the father or the mother.”
[Faisal Khan v. Humera, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 572]
A typical case that showcases as to what would amount to cruel behaviour on part of one spouse to utter detriment of other
A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, JJ., while addressing a matrimonial application stated that,
“Marriage is no doubt a sacrament, but it cannot be a one sided affair.”
Present appeal has been preferred against the Judgment of Family Court wherein the marriage between the appellant/respondent and respondent/petitioner was dissolved as the same was sought on grounds of cruelty and desertion within the meaning of Section 13(1)(i—a) and (i—b) of Hindu Marriage Act.
[Venkatesh Narasimhan v. V. Sujatha, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 571]
Student not to be deprived of fruits of labour because of unavoidable medical concerns; order granting gold medal upheld: Delhi HC
The Division Bench comprising of Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli, JJ., maintained the decision of a Single Judge in which it was decided “to award a Gold Medal to the respondent for his remarkable academic performance”, which was being denied by the appellant, i.e. Guru Gobin Singh Indraprastha University.
[Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University v. Abhinav Pandey, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 11915]
Cancellation of candidature of an IIT Qualified engineer at the final stage of induction into Civil Services held disproportionate to bonafide omission
The Division Bench comprising of Rekha Palli and Hima Kohli, JJ., allowed an appeal and set aside the order passed by Principal Bench, Central Administrative Tribunal, New Delhi concerning the cancelling of candidature for Civil Services Examination 2017 by UPSC.
“Error on the part of the petitioner could not be treated as a misrepresentation or suppression of facts.”
[Anuj Pratap Singh v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 10982]
* Judge who has penned the judgment.
High Court for the State of Telangana, https://tshc.gov.in/judprofile.action?judcode=1011