Law is long, but life is short

Justice C.T. Ravikumar

P.A. Sidhartha Menon v. Deputy Superintendent of Police,

2013 SCC OnLine Ker 24286

As Justice C.T. Ravikumar celebrates his 63rd birthday today, it is therefore imperative that we take a look at his inspiring journey, which began with humble origins and has now reached the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court of India.

Early Life and Education

Justice C.T. Ravikumar was born on 06-01-1960 in Peermadu, Kerala to Sri K.Devan and Smt. Saraswathy. His father was a Bench Clerk at Changanassery Magistrate Court1.

Justice Ravikumar Graduated in Zoology from Bishop Moore College, Mavelikkara and obtained his LL. B degree from Government Law College, Kozhikode2.

As an Advocate

Justice Ravikumar was enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Kerala on 12-07-1986, and commenced his practice at Mavelikkara courts, and started independent practice in Civil, Criminal, Service and Labour matters.3 He later shifted his practice to Kerala High Court.

Justice Ravikumar served as Government Pleader from 1996 to 2001 under Advocate General, M.K. Damodaran4 and was then appointed as Senior Government Pleader in 2006. Justice Ravikumar was later appointed as Special Government Pleader in the High Court of Kerala.5

Did You Know? Justice Ravikumar shifted his practice from Mavelikkara to Ernakulam on the advice of former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Justice K G Balakrishnan6

As a Judge- Kerala High Court and Supreme Court

Justice Ravikumar was appointed as Additional Judge of the High Court of Kerala on 05-01-2009 and as a Permanent Judge on 15-12-2010. He chaired as the Executive Chairman of Kerala State Legal Services Authority and organised Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes7. He also served as the President of the Kerala Judicial Academy, President of Kerala State Mediation and Conciliation Centre.

Justice Ravikumar took oath as a Judge, Supreme Court of India on 31-08-2021 after serving as High Court judge for over 12 years.8 He will serve for a tenure of four years in Supreme Court and will retire in 2025.9

Did You Know? Justice Ravikumar became the fifth Judge to be elevated to the Supreme Court directly from his parent High Court of Kerala.10

Notable Supreme Court Judgements

Did You Know? Justice C.T. Ravikumar had refused to hear 50 petitions relating to renewal of licenses of 418 bars in different parts of the State after an advocate visited him at his residence to talk about the case.11

Non-reporting of POCSO offence despite knowledge a serious offence; Bombay High Court’s quashment of FIR against accused Medical Practitioner unfortunate: SC

State of Maharashtra v. Maroti, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1503

In a case where the Bombay High Court has quashed the FIR against a medical practitioner in relation to misprision of sexual assault against minor tribal girls in a girls’ hostel, the bench of jay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar*, JJ., set aside the judgment and has shown disappointment that a legitimate prosecution under another Act viz., the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), has been throttled at the threshold by the exercise of power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), without permitting the materials in support to it to see the light of the day.

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Explained| Vicarious liability under Section 149 IPC: Impact of reduction in number of convicts below five on account of death of co-accused

Gurmail Singh v. State of U.P., (2022) 10 SCC 684

The bench of CT Ravikumar* and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., held that merely because some of the convicts had died during the pendency of the case, it would not lead to non-applicability of the provision for constructive/vicarious liability, arising out of the achievement of the common object by the unlawful assembly.

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Limitation can be a preliminary issue under Or. 14, R. 2(2)(b) CPC if the question can be decided on admitted facts: Supreme Court

Sukhbiri Devi v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1322

Principal question before the Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi and C.T. Ravikumar*, JJ., for contemplation was whether the issue of limitation can be determined as a preliminary issue under Order 14, Rule 2(2) of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (for short ‘CPC’). The Supreme Court while addressing the series of judgments in the instant case dismissed the appeal filed against the judgment of High Court of Delhi.

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“Promise of freebies by political parties may push State towards bankruptcy”, says Supreme Court: Read the 4 issues referred to a larger Bench

Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1098

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.”

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‘Nothing survives after filing of Closure Report’; Supreme Court dismisses plea on sanction to prosecute UP CM Yogi Adityanath in 2007 Hate Speech case

Parvez Parwaz v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1103

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar*, JJ., dismissed the Special Leave to Appeal in the hate speech case relating to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.

The Court refused to go into the issue of denial of sanction for prosecution and the legal pleas sought to be raised in relation to the said issue. It, however, left the legal questions on the issue of sanction open for consideration in an appropriate case.

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“SIT Officials have come out with flying colours unscathed despite all odds”; Supreme Court’s key observations while upholding SIT’s clean chit to PM Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots

Zakia Ahsan Jafri v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 773

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, dismissed Zakia Jafri’s plea challenging the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Special Investigation Team, in 2002 Gujarat riots case. The Court observed that no fault can be found with the approach of the SIT in submitting final report back in 2012, which is backed by firm logic, expositing analytical mind and dealing with all aspects objectively for discarding the allegations regarding larger criminal conspiracy (at the highest level) for causing and precipitating mass violence across the State of Gujarat against the minority community.

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The Election cannot brook any delay! SC directs Maharashtra Election Commission to conduct local elections based on pre-amendment delimitation

Rahul Ramesh Wagh v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 692

The Bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar, Abhay S. Oka and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., directed Maharashtra State Election Commission to expeditiously conduct elections of local bodies (around 2486), which were pending for over 2 years (in some cases) due to disputed constitutional validity of State Amendments seeking to introduce delimitation in the State.

“We make it clear that until the delimitation is done by the State Government in terms of Amendment Act(s) of 2022, the State Election Commission shall give effect to this order also in respect of upcoming elections in respect of local bodies which would become due by efflux of time.”

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Cal HC had no jurisdiction to quash CAT Principal Bench’s transfer order in Alapan Bandhopadhyay Case, holds SC, based on this Constitution Bench Law holding ground since 1997

Union of India v. Alapan Bandyopadhyay, (2022) 3 SCC 133

Setting aside a Calcutta High Court verdict which had quashed the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) transferring a case filed by former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay from Kolkata to Delhi, a Division Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar*, JJ., held that the Calcutta High Court did not have the jurisdiction to deal with the plea by Bandyopadhyay.

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Environmental Watchdog | NGT could act upon a letter written to it but cannot be triggered suo motu on learning about an environmental exigency? Supreme Court Verdict

Municipal Corpn. of Greater Mumbai v. Ankita Sinha, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 897

The Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy* and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., considered the question, whether the National Green Tribunal has the power to exercise Suo Motu jurisdiction in the discharge of its functions under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010?

“NGT, with the distinct role envisaged for it, can hardly afford to remain a mute spectator when no-one knocks its door.”

“…adopt an interpretation which sustains the spirit of public good and not render the environmental watchdog of our country toothless and ineffective.”

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Validity of certain provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002

Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India , 2022 SCC OnLine SC 929

Justice Ravikumar was part of the 3- Judge Bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., who in 545-pages-long judgment, dealt with various aspects of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and upheld the validity of certain impugned provisions by holding that the same have reasonable nexus with the object sought be achieved i.e., combatting the menace of money laundering.

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Notable Kerala High Court Judgements

“An Arbitral award cannot be set aside merely on the ground that compensation awarded is insufficient”; HC concurs with findings of lower Court

V.M. Mathew v. National Highway Authority of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 387

The Division Bench of C. T. Ravikumar and K. Haripal*, JJ., partly allowed the instant petition filed under Section 37 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and held that even in the absence of specific plea or proof, the appellant would be entitled to get solatium and interest on solatium as provided in Section 23(1A) and (2) and interest in terms of proviso to Section 28 of the Land Acquisition Act.

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Powers of Court under S. 34 of the Arbitration Act, 1996 are merely supervisory in nature; Court cannot correct errors from the order of Arbitrator, but can only quash it

Eliyamma v. Deputy Collector, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 80

Partially allowing the instant appeal challenging the correctness of the orders of the District Judge whereby the District Judge had declined to interfere with the arbitral award, a Division Bench comprising of C.T. Ravikumar and K. Haripal*, JJ., held that even in the absence of specific plea or proof, the appellants were entitled to claim solatium and interest on solatium under Section 23(1A) and (2) and interest in terms of the proviso to Section 28 of the Land Acquisition Act and the respondents were directed to quantify the amounts of solatium accordingly.

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HC dismisses a petition seeking direction to enhance the permissible number of pilgrims at Sabrimala pilgrimage during pandemic as infructuous

Travancore Devaswom Board Employees Front v. State of Kerala, WP(C) No. 23869 of 2020(G)

A Division Bench of C.T. Ravikumar and K. Haripal, JJ., allowed various petitions in connection with Sabrimala pilgrimage and held that in view of the surge of Covid-19 positive cases, number of pilgrims was rightly decided to be limited and that it could be safely fixed as 5000.

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Scope of interference by High Courts in matter of transfer of investigation to CBI

State of Kerala v. Krishnan, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 3542

Partly allowing the appeal by setting aside the Single Bench order to the extent it quashed the charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team, the Division Bench comprising of S. Manikumar, C.J. and C.T. Ravikumar*, J., held that a lot of prima facie evidence had been missed out due to the slackness and incomplete investigation of the Kerala Crime Branch that may possibly result in the miscarriage of justice. It was further held that the High Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution, can issue directions for CBI investigation in respect of cognizable offences alleged to have been committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the State concerned, without consent of that State.

Directions on important matters such as bail/arrest/recovery/etc. issued taking suo motu cognizance of complete lockdown

Suo motu Writ Petition – COVID-19 – taken up by the High Court, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 1229

A Full Court comprising of S. Manikumar*, C.J., and C.K. Abdul Rehim and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ. issued certain directions taking suo motu cognizance of the public announcement of imposing a total lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak resulting in immobilization of public at large.

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Mistake committed by the department cannot be permitted to recoil on the employee; Union of India v. Sadhana Khanna, (2008) 1 SCC 720, reiterated

Kerala Public Service Commission v. Radha S., 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 13812

In a case of disqualification of teaching candidates on the ground that they had not submitted their NET qualification certificates on time, a Division Bench of C.T. Ravikumar and V.G .Arun*, JJ., observed that the incomplete applications were due to technical glitches in the Public Service Commission’s website and not the fault of the candidates and held this to be a “hostile discrimination” violating Article 14.

Government liable to indemnify motor vehicle owners in case of accident, on account of its welfare State liability

L. Mini v. Gireeshkumar, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 16781

In a path-breaking decision a Division Bench comprising of C.T. Ravikumar and K. P. Jyothindranath, JJ., while answering a vital question related to State’s liability to indemnify in motor vehicle accident claim cases held that the government is under a welfare State liability to compensate for the death or injury caused to a vehicle owner during an accident as the road tax is levied by the government.

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Chargesheet cannot be quashed prior to the conclusion of departmental enquiry, merely on the ground that facts stated in the charge are erroneous

Shantam Bose v. Union of India12

A Division Bench of C.T. Ravikumar and V.G. Arun, JJ. dismissed a petition seeking quashing of disciplinary proceedings on the ground of inordinate delay.

The Court upheld the Tribunal’s observation that the imputations incorporated in the said articles of charge only intended to explain the offending acts allegedly committed by the petitioner and to make the imputation specific and clear. In view thereof, the Court held that the verity of the imputations can only be proved or disproved at the final enquiry and merely because the imputations have been unhappily worded, it cannot be a reason to terminate the proceedings abruptly. It also observed that though the petitioner had attempted to establish the charges against him as baseless, merits of the case could only be established only after an appropriately conducted disciplinary proceeding.

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“Securing ends of justice is the ultimate goal of any legal proceeding”

P.A. Sidhartha Menon v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, 2013 SCC OnLine Ker 24286

Highlighting the importance of speedy trial while allowing the splitting of trial against an accused, Justice Ravikumar held that there is no need to wait for the absconding accused to appear or be caught to conduct the trial.

“Nobody can dispute the position that courts have a duty to proceed criminal cases with a reasonable pace…”

*Judge who has penned the judgment.

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd., has prepared this report.

1. From clerk’s son to a Supreme Court Judge, Bar and Bench

2. Hon’ble Mr. Justice C.T. Ravikumar, Supreme Court of India

3. C.T. Ravikumar, Supreme Court Observer

4. Justice CT Ravikumar, SC Observer

5. Hon’ble Mr. Justice C.T. Ravikumar, Supreme Court of India

6. Justice C.T. Ravikumar, The Times of India

7. Justice CT Ravikumar- Law Clerk’s son to SC Judge, India Legal Live

8. Hon’ble Mr. Justice C.T. Ravikumar, Supreme Court of India

9. Hon’ble Mr. Justice C.T. Ravikumar, Lawyers Update

10. C.T. Ravikumar, Supreme Court Observer

11. Business Standard, Judges recuse from hearing cases relating to renewal of bar

12. OP (CAT) No. 205 of 2015, decided on 27-05-2019

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