“Independence and adherence to constitutional accountability and limits while exercising the power of judicial review gives constitutional legitimacy to the court decisions.”
— Justice Hemant Gupta
Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 463
The year 2022 has been a busy year for the Supreme Court vis-a-vis bidding farewells to some of its esteemed Judges. As another retirement approaches, so is the chance to reminisce and understand the retiring Judge's tenure and take in the importance and gravity of the imprint that they will leave behind in the form of their numerous decisions.
This month, Supreme Court's Justice Hemant Gupta is retiring after a comprehensive term of 4 years. It also means that it is time for us to take our readers on a time travel- to run through the past and present of Justice Hemant Gupta's life in law with anticipation for an equally stellar future.
Early Life and Advocacy1
Did You Know? Justice Hemant Gupta's grandfather voluntarily left practice at the prime of his professional career at the age of 65.
Justice Hemant Gupta was born on 17-10-1957, in a family of legal professionals. His grandfather was a prominent civil lawyer and his father Justice Jitendra Vir Gupta retired as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in the year 1991.
He enrolled as an Advocate in July 1980 and practiced at High Court of Punjab and Haryana after spending initial few years practicing in the District Court, Chandigarh. As an advocate Justice Gupta mainly dealt with the civil cases concerning Labour, Company, Constitutional and Service Law. Justice Hemant Gupta also served as Additional Advocate General of Punjab from 1997 to 1999.
Did You Know? As per an anecdote shared by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh (President, Supreme Court Bar Association), Justice Hemant Gupta did not want to start his practice in his father's official bungalow, so he got a small place in his family home and began his legal practice from there.2
The High Courts [2002-2018]
Justice Gupta was appointed as Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 02-07-2002.3 Later he was sworn in as a judge of Patna High Court on 08-02-2016 and was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of that High Court on 29-10-2016. In March 2017, he was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Membership of Committees/ Authorities4
Justice Hemant Gupta was Member of the Computer Committee of Punjab and Haryana High Court, for more than 10 years.
Justice Gupta was also the Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, U.T. Chandigarh from July 2012 to January, 2016
Ushering Digitization in Case Management System5
During Justice Gupta's judgeship at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he was a dedicated Member of the Computer Committee. The period of his Membership saw a complete computerization of the High Court including-
Digitization of the entire records of judicial files and developing a mechanism to scan the freshly filed case
Introduction of the Case Management System
Launching of E-diary, E-filing of the cases and access to paper book module,
On-line availability of the judgments and the daily/interim orders,
Extensive usage of the SMS,
Dispensing with the manual peshi registers, e-inspection, e-copy of the judgment(s)/order(s) by creating automated centralized copy agency.
Notable High Court Judgements
Ram Sewak Mishra v. State of M.P., 2017 SCC OnLine MP 1546
Deciding on the validity of an executive action wherein no adequate opportunity of hearing was provided to a Government employee charged under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, Justice Gupta noted,
“The rule of audi alteram partem is the rule of the law without which law would be lifeless, absurd, stultifying, self-defeating or plainly contrary to the common sense of the situation. The principle holds good irrespective of whether the power conferred on a statutory body or Tribunal is administrative or quasi-judicial. The concept of natural justice can neither be put in a straitjacket nor is it a general rule of universal application. Whether or not the application of the principles of natural justice in a given case has been excluded, wholly or in part, in the exercise of statutory power, depends upon the language and basic scheme of the provision conferring the power, the nature of the power, the purpose for which it is conferred and the effect of the exercise of that power. The procedural precondition of fair hearing, however minimal, even post-decisional, has relevance to administrative and judicial gentlemanliness.”
Nitin Pathak v. State of M.P., 2017 SCC OnLine MP 1824
“The Court should not under the guise of preventing the abuse of power be itself guilty of usurping power.”
While examining the question as to whether in exercise of power of judicial review the Court can refer the matter to a Court chosen expert or whether the Court itself can act as Court of appeal and make a different view than what has been finalized as the model answer key by the Examining Body, the Bench consisting of Hemant Gupta*, C.J. and C.V. Sirpurkar and Vijay Kumar Shukla, JJ., held that
“…this Court does not and should not act as Court of Appeal in the matter of opinion of experts in academic matters as the power of judicial review is concerned, not with the decision, but with the decision-making process. The Court should not under the guise of preventing the abuse of power be itself guilty of usurping power.”
Saurabh Singh Baghel v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 730
A Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta*, CJ. and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J. while hearing a batch of writ petitions against government's shifting policy pertaining to appointment of guest teachers in government schools, held that the aim of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) is to impart education to students and not to protect teachers. Read More…
Popular Plastic v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 635
A 2-Judge Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta*, CJ., and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J., addressed four writ petitions having similar issues. These petitions challenged notification issued by the State Government prohibiting the manufacturing, storage, transportation, sale and use of the plastic carry bags in the entire State. Read More…
Vajid Ali v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 418
A 2-Judge Bench of Hemant Gupta, CJ., and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J., dismissed a writ appeal, and affirmed the order passed by a Single Judge Bench, rejecting the claim of appellant for appointment on compassionate ground for acquittal in a criminal case, wherein, the appellant was facing 2 criminal trials, and was acquitted in both. The Court referred Ashutosh Pawar v. High Court of M.P, 2018 (2) MPLJ 419 in which it was held that acquittal, by itself, from a criminal case cannot be a proof of a good character. In light of the above observations the Court found the writ petition been rightly dismissed by the Single Judge Bench and therefore dismissed the present appeal.
Authorized Officer v. Prafulla Kumar Maheshwari, 2018 SCC OnLine MP 325
In a matter arising under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, a Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta, CJ and Atul Sreedharan, J. allowed a writ appeal and set aside the Orders of the learned Single Judge as well as the Debts Recovery Tribunal. Read More…
TBCL Shiv Shakti Construction Co. v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 351
The petitioner, who challenged the eligibility of Respondent 5 to participate in the Tender process, was left high and dry when the Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta, CJ and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J. held that the Court in exercise of judicial review, will not sit as a Court of appeal over the decision taken by a committee of experts. Read More…
Ambika Kaul v. Central Board of Secondary Education, 2015 SCC OnLine P&H 1669
Denouncing the tendency of the people to give older date of birth in the matriculation examination to qualify in the matriculation examination but then to rely upon the birth certificate that he is younger in age at the time of employment, cannot be countenanced, the division bench comprising of Hemant Gupta* and Lisa Gill, JJ., held that though the Birth Certificate carries with it a presumption of correction being maintained by a public office in discharge of his official duties, even then, in the case of there being variation in the date of birth in the Birth Certificate and the Matriculation Certificate a person would be estopped as per the law of estoppel laid down in Section 115 of the Evidence Act, 1872, from disputing the same in the guise of correcting the mistake in the Matriculation Certificate. Read More…
Aditi Sharma v. State of Punjab, 2015 SCC OnLine P&H 2653
In an appeal filed by the appellants for regularization of their admission to BDS course, the Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta* and Lisa Gill, JJ., held that the admissions cannot be regularized as they had taken place in violation of the regulations provided by the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutes (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation) Act, 2006, the Dental Council of India and by the State Government. Read More…
The Supreme Court [2018-2022]
After an extensive tenure of 16 years in the High Courts, Justice Hemant Gupta was elevated to Supreme Court of India on 02-11-2018.
Did You Know? Justice Gupta's leanings towards creating a computerized judicial system followed him to the Supreme Court as well. In June 2020 he created a stir along with Justices Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi when they did not bring any paper files into the courtroom and chose to hear matters and take notes entirely on their laptops.6
Some of the notable decisions rendered by Justice Gupta and decisions he had been a part of, have been curated below-
Notable Judgments at Supreme Court
Hijab Ban Split Verdict
The Hijab Ban controversy in the State of Karnataka is far from coming to an end as the Bench of Hemant Gupta* and Sudhanshu Dhulia*, JJ., in Aishat Shifa v. State of Karnataka, delivered a split verdict and referred the matter to a larger bench. Justice Gupta opined that the Government Order cannot be said to be contrary to the legitimate State goal of promoting literacy and education. Article 21-A of the Constitution is not applicable as all the students are over 14 years of age. The students have a right to education under Article 21, but not of insisting on wearing something additional to the uniform, in a secular school, as a part of their religion.
“The right to education under Article 21 continues to be available but it is the choice of the student to avail such right or not. The student is not expected to put a condition, that unless she is permitted to come to a secular school wearing a headscarf, she would not attend the school. The decision is of the student and not of school when the student opts not to adhere to the uniform rules.”
Binding nature of a judgment depends on the Bench Strength and not the numerical strength of the Judges taking majority view
Explaining the doctrine of precedents, the 5-judge Constitution Bench of Indira Banerjee*, Hemant Gupta*, Surya Kant, MM Sundresh and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., in Trimurthi Fragrances (P) Ltd. v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1247, held that the numerical strength of the Judges taking a particular view is not relevant, but the Bench strength is determinative of the binding nature of the Judgment.
Can there be presumption of Hindu joint family property if a business activity carried out by Karta in a tenanted premise?
The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, SA Nazeer and Hemant Gupta*, JJ., in Kiran Devi v. Bihar State Sunni Wakf Board, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 280, held that there can be presumption of Hindu joint family property if the property has been acquired by the male member or if the same has been treated as joint Hindu family. But no such presumption is attached to a business activity carried out by an individual in a tenanted premise.
In an appeal regarding the jurisdiction of National Green Tribunal's (NGT) to pass an order to operate a unit without Environmental Clearance and against the decision of closure of the unit, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ., in Gajubha Jadeja Jesar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 993, observed that there was no error in the order passed by the Tribunal that opportunity should be provided to re-rolling or cold rolling units to fall within Environmental Clearance (EC) regime by granting a period of at least one year to operate for the purpose. However, the order of closure of the unit cannot be sustained.
Constitutional validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014
In the writ petitions challenging the constitutionality Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014, the division bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ., in Harbhajan Singh v. State of Haryana, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1264, upheld the constitutional validity of the said Act. The Court observed that the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Bill, 2014 provides that the Bill is an earnest effort to provide a legal procedure by which the Gurdwaras can be brought effectively and permanently under the exclusive control of the Sikhs of Haryana for their proper use, administration, control and financial management reforms to make it consistent with the religious views of the said community.
Interference with Government Tenders makes the State and its citizens suffer twice.
Explaining the scope of interference in matters relating to Government contracts and tenders, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., in N.G. Projects Ltd. v. Vinod Kumar Jain, (2022) 6 SCC 127, held that even if the Court finds that there is total arbitrariness or that the tender has been granted in a malafide manner, still the Court should refrain from interfering in the grant of tender but instead relegate the parties to seek damages for the wrongful exclusion rather than to injunct the execution of the contract.
In three appeals against an order directing separate zone of consideration for promotion of Scheduled Caste (SC)/Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates to the post of Superintendent in Customs and Central Excise Commissionerate (CEC) from the post of Inspector, the division bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ., in Union of India v. Gopal Meena, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 995, has observed that the Tribunal and the High Court answered a question that did not arise. Therefore, the Court finds their orders clearly erroneous and not sustainable in law as the orders passed for regular promotion by extending the zone of consideration did not arise.
What happens when a candidate, in a competitive exam, uses different language in answer sheet than that filled in application form?
In Union of India v. Mahendra Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 909, where a candidate appearing for examination for recruitment to the post of Constables in Railway Protection Force (RPF) had used a different language in the OMR answer book than that filled in the application form, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ., held that his candidature was rightly rejected.
Right to Shelter v. Right to Government Accommodation
The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., in Union of India v. Onkar Nath Dhar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 574, expressed that Government accommodation is only meant for in-service officers and not for the retirees or those who have demitted office. “The right to shelter does not mean right to government accommodation.”
Unless there is forfeiture of performance guarantee, Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum cannot be deemed to be de-recognized
While reversing the impugned decision of the Bombay High Court, the Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., in Swami Samarth Sugars & Agro Industries Ltd. v. Loknete Marutrao Ghule Patil Dnyaneshwar Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 871, held that unless there is forfeiture of performance guarantee and opportunity of being heard is granted to an entrepreneur, the Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum cannot be deemed to be de-recognized automatically, only on account of lapsing of time.
Formation of reasons to believe for search & seizure under Income Tax Act is an administrative function, to be tested by judicial restraint
The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., in CIT v. Laljibhai Kanjibhai Mandalia, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 872, held that non-supply of satisfaction note to the assessee will not make the whole act of search and seizure contrary to Section 132(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Reversing the impugned decision of the Gujarat High Court, the Court held that formation of reasons to believe being an administrative act, the courts have only limited power to determine whether such reasons are whimsical or malafide, the sufficiency of the grounds which induced the competent authority to act is not a justiciable issue to be determined by courts.
Old Age Home inmates can't get away with causing disruption of peace of other inmates
In Samarpan Varishtha Jan Parisar v. Rajendra Prasad Agarwal, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 564, where an old age home inmate was accused of misbehaving with other inmates and was hence, asked to vacate the room, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that if one parent is the cause of disruption of peace of other inmates in the old age home, the administration of the old age home is at liberty to terminate the license and ask the inmate to vacate the room allotted to them.
Land Acquisition| Can market value be determined retrospectively based on the market value of land acquired two years later?
In Bhag Singh v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 553, where the Court was posed with the question as to whether determination of market value subsequent to the notification would be relevant to determine the market value of the land acquired more than two years earlier, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that the same was not permissible.
Mere legal principles not sufficient in medical negligence cases
A Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta and A.S. Bopanna*, JJ., in Harish Kumar Khurana v. Joginder Singh, (2021) 10 SCC 291, absolved a doctor and a hospital of liability for medical negligence. The Supreme Court said that failure of treatment cannot automatically make the medical professional liable for medical negligence. It was observed:
“Every death of a patient cannot on the face of it be considered as death due to medical negligence unless there is material on record to suggest to that effect.”
Medical Negligence: Can doctors be held liable for negligence if patient can't survive surgical procedures?
The Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., in Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Centre v. Asha Jaiswal, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1149, set aside NCDRC's order granting 14 lakhs compensation to the claimants in negligence claim against doctors. The Bench stated,
“The doctors are expected to take reasonable care but none of the professionals can assure that the patient would overcome the surgical procedures.”
Pujari who performs puja and maintains temple property, will he be treated as Bhumi swami?
Bench of Hemant Gupta* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., while addressing the matter pertaining to rights of the priest in State of M.P. v. Pujari Utthan Avam Kalyan Samiti, (2021) 10 SCC 222, observed that: “Pujari is only to perform puja and to maintain the properties of the deity…name of the Collector as manager cannot be recorded in respect of property vested in the deity as the Collector cannot be a manager of all temples unless it is a temple vested with the State.”
Is obstruction & abuse by upper caste person due to property dispute an offence under SC/ST Act?
A 3-judge bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ, in Hitesh Verma v. State of Uttarakhand, (2020) 10 SCC 710 where abuses were hurled by a person of upper caste at a person belonging to Scheduled Caste due to a property dispute between them, held that no offence had been committed under Section 3(1)(r) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 because the insulting or intimidating of a person belonging to a SC/ST community will not be counted as offence under the Act unless such insult or intimidation is on account of them being a member of the SC/ST community.
“The property disputes between a vulnerable section of the society and a person of upper caste will not disclose any offence under the Act unless, the allegations are on account of the victim being a Scheduled Caste.”
Importance of Cross-Examination of Witnesses
The Bench of U.U. Lalit and Hemant Gupta*, JJ., in Arvind Singh v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 11 SCC 1, held that it is absolutely essential to the proper conduct of a cause whether civil or criminal, where it is intended to suggest that a witness is not speaking the truth on a particular point. It was further held that it is only if the witness is unable to explain himself in terms of the questions asked that his testimony on the issue in question may be disbelieved.
Election | Local Government/ Municipalities etc. | Disqualification
Hearing an appeal against the order of the High Court dismissing writ petition against an order of disqualification on account of non-submission of election expenses within the period prescribed, the Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Hemant Gupta* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., held that-
“The purity and transparency in election process does not give unbridled and arbitrary power to the Election Commission to pass any whimsical order without examining the nature of default. The extent of period of disqualification has to be in proportion to the default. The Election Commission has to keep in mind that by such process, an election of duly elected candidate representing collective will of the voters of the constituency is being set at naught.”
Grant of Writs- Legitimate Expectation
In an appeal against the order of a Division Bench at Patna High Court, mandating the State authorities to give financial assistance on the ground of legitimate expectation, the Bench of Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta*, JJ., State of Bihar v. Sachindra Narayan, (2019) 3 SCC 803, observed that
“(…) legitimate expectation is one of the grounds of judicial review but unless a legal obligation exists, there cannot be any legitimate expectation. The legitimate expectation is not a wish or a desire or a hope, therefore, it cannot be claimed or demanded as a right. The payment of pension in the past will not confer an enforceable right in favour of the Institute or its employees.”
Practice of summoning public officers not proper as public suffers due to their absence
While making significant observation with respect to the power of Court to summon public officers, the Bench of SK Kaul and Hemant Gupta*, JJ., in N.K. Janu v. Lakshmi Chandra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1900, observed that,
“The summoning of officers to the court to attend proceedings, impinges upon the functioning of the officers and eventually it is the public at large who suffer on account of their absence from the duties assigned to them. The practice of summoning officers to court is not proper and does not serve the purpose of administration of justice in view of the separation of powers of the Executive and the Judiciary. If an order is not legal, the Courts have ample jurisdiction to set aside such order and to issue such directions as may be warranted in the facts of the case.”
Maratha Reservation| Implementation of Maharashtra State Reservation Act stayed
The Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., in Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 2 SCC 785, while referring the Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018 to a larger bench, held- “The social, educational and economic backwardness of a community, existence of quantifiable data relating to inadequacy of representation of the community in public services and deprivation of the benefits flowing from reservations to the community are not exceptional circumstances for providing reservations in excess of 50 per cent.”
The Bench further directed that the admissions to educational institutions and appointments to public services/posts under the government, shall be made irrespective to the reservations provided under, Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for appointments in the Public Services and posts under the State) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
FIR for repeated rape cannot be filed just because a long-standing relationship is no longer working out
The bench of Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath, JJ., in Ansaar Mohammad v. State of Rajasthan, granted pre-arrest bail to a man in a case relating to the rape of the woman he had been in a relationship with for four years.
When the relationship between the bail applicant and the complainant started, the complainant was 21 years of age. Taking these factors together, the Court observed,
“(…) the complainant has willingly been staying with the appellant and had the relationship. Therefore, now if the relationship is not working out, the same cannot be a ground for lodging an FIR for the offence under Section 376(2)(n) IPC.”
A 3-Judge Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi*, JJ., in Pankjeshwar Sharma v. State of J&K, (2021) 2 SCC 188, held that any appointments made deviating from merit in exceptional cases can be justified, like in instant case viz. to give quietus to litigation, however such appointments would be irregular appointments, though not illegal and the candidates left out of merit list has no right to claim the same benefit which was provided to some other candidates on basis of some erroneous concession granted by the State. The Court restated that negative equality cannot be claimed to perpetuate further illegality.
“In a situation where the posts in excess of those advertised had been filled up in extraordinary circumstances, instead of invalidating the excess appointments, the relief could be moulded in such a manner so as to strike a just balance keeping the interest of the State and the interest of the person seeking public employment depends upon the facts of each case for which no set standard can be laid down.”
COVID-19| Financial disability of parents/guardians should not hinder education of children restored from Child Care Institutions
The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., in Contagion of Covid 19 Virus in Children Protection Homes, In re, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1026, issued directions to ensure education of children in Child Care Institutions which has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Free Speech | Dissent from Govt's decision cannot be said to be seditious
The Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta, JJ., Rajat Sharma v. Union of India, (2021) 5 SCC 585, imposed a cost of Rs. 50, 000 on petitioners for filing a “publicity interest litigation” seeking initiation of proceeding against former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his “pro-China” comments over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
A person enrolled in Air Force can't depart from service at his or her will during the term of engagement
The Division Bench of D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, JJ., adjudicating upon the interplay of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and the statutory restrictions on members of Indian Airforce in Amit Kumar Roy v. Union of India, (2019) 7 SCC 369, observed that, “A person who has been enrolled as a member of the Air Force does not have an unqualified right to depart from service at his or her will during the term of engagement. Such a construction, as urged on behalf of the appellant, will seriously impinge upon manning levels and operational preparedness of the Armed Forces.”
“Pampering is not Parenting”
Justice Hemant Gupta expressed his dissent in Smriti Madan Kansagra v. Perry Kansagra, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 887, wherein the Court transferred the custody of an 11-year-old child to his father, an Indian-origin business tycoon living in Kenya, from his mother with whom he has been living since birth. Justice Hemant Gupta opined that the child should be given liberty to choose his destination after he comes out of age. He noticed that the question of where the welfare of the child lies narrows down to the mother who has stopped practicing law to nurture child as against the father who travels quite substantially every month.
“From the controlled and supervised household of the mother, if the custody is given to the father, the sudden exposure to the materialistic things have the potency to derail the studies and wellbeing of the growing child.”
Review of need for Death Penalty
In Chhannu Lal Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2019) 12 SCC 438, Justice Hemant Gupta shared his part disagreement in a supplementing opinion by Deepak Gupta, J., whereby which he stated that the “Constitution Bench in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684, has upheld capital punishment, there is no need to re-examine the same at this stage”.
Invalidation of amendments in Finance Act, 2017 prescribing 50 yrs. minimum age for appointment to Tribunals
3-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, by a majority of 2:1, in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 463, declared that certain portions of Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 as amended by the Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 are unconstitutional and inoperative. Hemant Gupta, J. wrote a substantially dissenting opinion. He observed that as regards prescription of minimum age or with respect to conditions of service such as payment of house rent allowance, the Court ought to respect legislative wisdom; and that the directions issued in past judgments cannot bind Parliament, as they fell outside the judicial sphere.
“A judge cannot make people happy, that's not the role assigned to him. That role is assigned to other people in public life. One cannot discharge this role with intention of pleasing people”
-Justice Hemant Gupta7
Justice Hemant Gupta has spent 4 decades in the legal profession; a time this long leaves its imprints. He is known in the legal circles for his inclination towards a more digitized functioning of the Courts and his tenure did see a fair share of digitization measures at the High Courts he was appointed in and the Supreme Court.
Justice Gupta's decisions- past and present, also presented an interesting perspective over certain burning issues and gave a lot for the legal eagles to think and discuss about!
As another phase of Justice Hemant Gupta's legal journey ends, we of course look forward to what he has in store and wish him luck for the same. Till then we bid adieu a Supreme Court Judge.
* Judge who penned the judgment
†Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd.