“Freedom to express and speak is the most important condition for political democracy. Law and policies are not democratic unless they have been made and subjected to democratic process including questioning and criticism.”
— Justice Sanjiv Khanna
Amish Devgan v. Union of India, (2021) 1 SCC 1
Justice Sanjiv Khanna was born on 14th May 1960. He completed his schooling at Delhi's prestigious Modern School, Barakhamba Road. He graduated from the University of Delhi in 1980 and later studied Law from the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi.
Did You Know? Justice Sanjiv Khanna is the nephew of former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Hans Raj Khanna, who played a major role in propounding the Basic Structure Doctrine in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225 and famously delivered the lone dissenting judgement in the ADM, Jabalpur v. Shivakant Shukla, (1976) 2 SCC 521, popularly known as the Habeas Corpus case.
From an Advocate to a Supreme Court Judge
Justice Sanjiv Khanna enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi in 1983. He began his practice in the District Courts at Tis Hazari in Delhi and soon shifted his practice to Delhi High Court.
His area of practice was wide and varied from writ petitions in public law matters, direct tax appeals, income tax prosecutions, arbitration cases, commercial suits, environment and pollution laws matters, to medical negligence cases before consumer forums and company law cases before the Company Law Board.
He had represented the Government of Delhi as an additional Public Prosecutor in various criminal cases. He was a senior standing counsel for the Income Tax Department for about seven years. He was appointed as a standing counsel (Civil) for the Government of Delhi in Delhi High Court in 2004.
On 24th June, 2005 he was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court and became a Permanent Judge of the Delhi High Court on 20th February, 2006.1
Did You Know? Justice Khanna was directly elevated from his parent High Court — the Delhi High Court, which is a rare occurrence.2
Justice Khanna was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 18th January, 2019 and is due to retire on 13th May 2025. A five-member collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recommended the elevation of Justice Maheshwari and Justice Khanna to the top court after reviewing its earlier deliberations held on December 12, 2018.3
Justice Sanjiv Khanna never headed any High Court as Chief Justice and was a Judge of the Delhi High Court prior to his elevation to Supreme Court.
Going by the seniority rule of the Supreme Court Judges, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, is in line to become the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) in November, 2024 for a term of seven months.4
Notable Judgments at Supreme Court
Did You Know? It was a rare coincidence for Justice Sanjiv Khanna began his first day as a Supreme Court Judge sitting in the same courtroom from which his uncle, Late Justice H.R. Khanna, retired!5
[Career Institute Educational Society v. Om Shree Thakurji Educational Society, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 586]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna and M.M. Sundresh, JJ., reiterated that it is not everything said by a Judge when giving judgment that constitutes a precedent. The only thing in a Judge's decision binding as a legal precedent is the principle upon which the case is decided and, for this reason, it is important to analyze a decision and isolate from it the obiter dicta. Read more
[Kailash Vijayvargiya v. Rajlakshmi Chaudhuri, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 569]
The Division Bench of M.R. Shah* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., while answering a Criminal Appeal challenging the judgment and order passed by Calcutta High Court on 1-10-2021, observed that the High Court was correct in remitting the matter to the CJM for further examination and set aside the order passed by Magistrate. The Court further remitted the matter back to the Magistrate to apply his judicial mind and exercise discretion on whether or not to issue directions under section 156(3) or whether he can take cognizance and follow the procedure under section 202. Read more
[Shilpa Sailesh v. Varun Sreenivasan, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 544]
The Constitution Bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna*, A.S. Oka, Vikram Nath, and J.K. Maheshwari, JJ., held that the Supreme Court has the discretion to dissolve the marriage by passing a decree of divorce by mutual consent, without being bound by the procedural requirement to move the second motion subject to the requirements and conditions laid down under Amardeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur, (2017) 8 SCC 746 and Amit Kumar v. Suman Beniwal, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1270. Read more
[State of Rajasthan v. Asharam, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 423,]
While answering an appeal filed by the State against the Judgment of the Rajasthan High Court allowing the application filed by the Asharam Bapu under Section 391 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC'), and directing summoning and recording of evidence of IPS Ajay Pal Lamba, Deputy Commissioner of Jodhpur Police, the Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and M.M Sundresh, JJ., set aside the impugned judgment and refrained from examining whether there is sufficient evidence and material to uphold the conviction of Asharam, as the questions of merits are to be considered by the High Court. Read more
[Union of India v. Union Carbide Corporation, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 264,]
The Constitution Bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul*, Sanjiv Khanna, Abhay S. Oka, Vikram Nath and J.K. Maheshwari, JJ., dismissed the curative petition seeking enhancement of compensation for the victims of the world's largest industrial disaster- the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The Court ordered that a sum of Rs 50 crore lying with the Reserve Bank of India be utilized by the Center to satisfy the pending claims, if any, in accordance with the Bhopal Gas leak Disaster Act, 1985 and schemes framed thereunder. Read more
[Anna Mathews v. Supreme Court of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 131]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna and B.R. Gavai, JJ., said that when eligibility is put in question, the question would fall within the scope of judicial review. However, the question of whether a person is fit to be appointed as a judge essentially involves the aspect of suitability and stands excluded from the purview of judicial review. Read more
[Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 130,]
The 5-Judge Constitution Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul*, Sanjiv Khanna, Abhay S. Oka, Vikram Nath and J.K Maheshwari, JJ., upheld the Bar Council of India's (BCI) power to conduct pre-enrolment examination i.e. All India Bar Examination (AIBE). The Court observed that neither the provisions under the Advocates Act, 1961, nor the role of the universities to impart legal education, in any way, prohibit the Bar Council of India from conducting pre-enrolment examination, as the Council is directly concerned with the standard of persons who want to obtain a license to practice law as a profession. Read more
[Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community v. State of Maharashtra, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 129]
The 5-judge Constitution Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, Abhay S. Oka*, Vikram Nath and JK Maheshwari, JJ., referred the issue relating to ex-communication of a person from the Dawoodi Bohra community to a larger Bench and observed that the same deserves to be tagged with the review petition of the Sabarimala Temple verdict that is pending for consideration before a 9-judge Bench, after noticing similarity of issues in both the matters. Read more
[Deepak Gaba v. State of U.P., (2023) 3 SCC 423]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and J.K. Maheshwari, JJ., set aside the order of the Allahabad High Court and held that “on the basis of evidence available on records and on the basis of statement of Complainant, the charge is appearing prima facie regarding showing forged demand against the Complainant, therefore the Opponents Manager Jotun India Pvt. Ltd. through Chief Manager Jotun India Pvt. ltd. Andheri East, Mumbai is liable to (be) summoned for trial in section 406 I.P.C. for trial prima facie”. Read more
[Smriti Debbarma v. Prabha Ranjan Debbarma, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 9]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and J.K Maheshwari, JJ., held that the Gauhati HC had rightly examined the aspect of demarcation and identification of Schedule A property. Further, the Court said the plaintiff has not been able to establish her title and ownership over the Schedule A property. A decree of possession cannot be passed in favour of the plaintiff on the grounds that respondents have not been able to fully establish their right, title and interest in Schedule A property. Read more
[Muthoot Leasing & Finance Ltd. v. CIT, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 4]
While hearing appeals against the judgment of the Kerala High Court, wherein the Court has set aside and reversed the finding of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (‘ITAT’) observing that the hire purchase instalment includes “finance charges”, which is nothing but interest, and therefore, interest tax is leviable on the interest component, the Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and M.M.Sundresh, JJ., set aside the impugned judgments and the additions made by the assessing officer and upheld the orders passed by ITAT and said that the findings of fact generally recorded by the ITAT are treated as conclusive, and the High Court can interfere with the findings of fact while deciding a substantial question of law. Read more
[Dilip Hariramani v. Bank of Baroda, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 579]
The Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., explained the law on vicarious liability under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (‘NI Act') and held that while Section 141 of the NI Act extends vicarious criminal liability to officers associated with the company or firm when one of the twin requirements of Section 141 has been satisfied, which person(s) then, by deeming fiction, is made vicariously liable and punished, such vicarious liability arises only when the company or firm commits the offence as the primary offender. Read more
[BBR (India) (P) Ltd. v. S.P. Singla Constructions (P) Ltd., (2023) 1 SCC 693]
The Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., held that subsequent hearings or proceedings at a different location other than the place fixed by the arbitrator as the ‘seat of arbitration' should not be regarded and treated as a change or relocation of jurisdictional ‘seat'. Read more
[Dauvaram Nirmalkar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 955]
Where a man was convicted for murder of his younger brother, the Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., converted the conviction from Section 302 to Part I of Section 304 of the IPC after holding that to discharge the burden the accused may rely upon the case of the prosecution and the evidence adduced by the prosecution in the court. Read more
[Independent Schools’ Federation of India (Regd.) v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1113,]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., upheld the Constitutional validity of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009, and held that the Amendment seeks to bring equality and give fair treatment to the teachers. It can hardly be categorised as an arbitrary and high-handed exercise. Noticeably, the aforesaid Amendment Act was introduced to extend the benefit of gratuity to the teachers by including them in the definition of “employee”, who were earlier deprived of it. Read more
[ONGC v. Afcons Gunanusa JV, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1122]
The three-judge Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., held that arbitrators do not have the power to unilaterally issue binding and enforceable orders determining their own fees. However, Khanna, J., wrote a separate opinion where he agreed with the majority opinion of certain parts but disagreed on the point that in the absence of any agreement between the parties, or the parties and the arbitral tribunal, or a court order fixing the fee, the arbitral tribunal is not entitled to fix the fee. He said that arbitrator's fee, being a component of cost, can be fixed by the arbitral tribunal when it is not already predetermined by way of an agreement between the parties, or by a court order. Read more
[Commr. of Gift Tax v. BPL Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1405]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and J.K. Maheshwari, JJ., while answering the appeals relating to the valuation of shares of BPL Sanyo Technologies Ltd. and BPL Sanyo Utilities and Appliances Ltd. gifted by the assessee to Celestial Finance Ltd. in 1993, held that equity shares which are quoted and transferable in the stock exchange are to be valued based on the current transactions and quotations in the open market. Read more
[PTC (India) Financial Services Ltd. v. Venkateswarlu Kari, (2022) 9 SCC 704]
The Division Bench of M.R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., held that mere exercise of the right by the pawnee to record himself as the ‘beneficial owner', which is a necessary precondition before the pawnee can exercise his right to sell, is not ‘actual sale' and would not affect the rights of the pawnor of redemption under Section 177 of the Contract Act. The Court observed that, “Every transfer or sale is not ‘actual sale' for the purpose of Section 177 of the Contract Act. To equate ‘sale' with ‘actual sale' would negate the legislative intent.” Read more
[Pradeep Kumar v. Post Master General, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 154]
The three-judge Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna* and BR Gavai, JJ., held that the post office/bank can be held liable for the fraud or wrongs committed by its employees. Read More
[Keshav v. Gian Chand, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 81]
In an issue relating to the alleged gift deed by an old illiterate woman, the Bench of M.R. Shah and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., held that when a person obtains any benefit from another, the court would call upon the person who wishes to maintain the right to gift to discharge the burden of proving that he exerted no influence for the purpose of obtaining the document. While the corollary to this principle finds recognition under sub-section (3) to Section 16 of the Contract Act, 1872 which relates to pardanashin ladies, the courts can apply it to old, illiterate, ailing or infirm persons who may be unable to comprehend the nature of document or contents thereof. Read More
[Chairman, State Bank of India v. MJ James, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1061]
Explaining the difference between acquiescence and delay and laches, the Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., held that both limitation and laches destroy the remedy but not the right. Acquiescence, on the other hand, virtually destroys the rights of the person.
“Inactive acquiescence on the part of the respondent can be inferred till the filing of the appeal, and not for the period post filing of the appeal. Nevertheless, this acquiescence being in the nature of estoppel bars the respondent from claiming violation of the right of fair representation.” Read More
[Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1029]
In a case where a death row convict subjected a 5-year-old girl to rape, killed her by strangulation, and then disposed of her body, tied in a gunny bag, into a stream, the three-judge Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna* and BR Gavai, JJ., has, finding hope for reformation and rehabilitation of the appellant, commuted his death sentence to that of life imprisonment.
The trial court had recorded that the death sentence was awarded on the ground that “the crime was committed in an extremely diabolical manner and that it was cruel, barbaric and revolting.” The High Court has noted that there are no mitigating circumstances at all. Read More
[Maharashtra Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corpn. v. Mahesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1034]
In an important ruling on Land Acquisition and Requisition law, the Division Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., held that Section 25 of the 2013 Act applies to awards made under Section 24(1)(a) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and the period of limitation of twelve months would commence from 1st January 2014.
“In cases covered by clause (a) to Section 24(1) of the 2013 Act, the limitation period for passing/making of an award under Section 25 of the 2013 Act would commence from 1st January 2014, that is, the date when the 2013 Act came into force. Awards passed under clause (a) to Section 24(1) would be valid if made within twelve months from 1st January 2014.” Read More
[Amish Devgan v. Union of India, (2021) 1 SCC 1]
“Article 19(1)(a) cannot be pressed into service for defeating the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 as if one claims to right to speech, the others have the right to listen or decline to listen.”
A Division Bench comprising of A.M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna,* JJ., refused to quash the FIRs registered against News18 Journalist Amish Devgan for using the term “Lootera Chisti” in one of his shows but has granted interim protection to him against arrest subject to his joining and cooperating in investigation till completion of the investigation. Read More
The Court opined that the true test of a valid FIR is only whether the information furnished provides reason to suspect the commission of an offence which the police officer concerned is empowered under Section 156(1) of the Criminal Code to investigate.
“…the FIR registered first in point of time, should be treated as the main FIR and others as statements under Section 162 of the Criminal Code. However, in exceptional cases and for good reasons, it will be open to the High Court or this Court, as the case may be, to treat the subsequently registered FIR as the principal FIR. However, this should not cause any prejudice, inconvenience or harassment to either the victims, witnesses or the person who is accused.” Read More
The Court also made an attempt to define “hate speech” and explain what will invite penal action.
“Dissent and criticism of the elected government's policy, when puissant, deceptive or even false would be ethically wrong, but would not invite penal action.” Read More
[Rajiv Suri v. Delhi Development Authority, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 7]
The three-judge Bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna**, JJ., by a 2:1 verdict, held that there is no infirmity in the grant of “no objection” by the Central Vista Committee (CVC) and “approval” by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) and “prior approval” by the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) to the Central Vista Project and given a go ahead to the Central Vista Project.
“The project does not involve any conversion into private ownership and has no element whatsoever of permitting commercial use of vital public resources. The proposed project is in line with the standards of public trust.”
Justice Sanjiv Khanna dissented with the opinion expressed by A.M. Khanwilkar, J., on the aspects of public participation on interpretation of the statutory provisions, failure to take prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee and the order passed by the Expert Appraisal Committee.
Justice Khanna opined that “…mere uploading of the gazette notification giving the present and the proposed land use with plot numbers was not sufficient compliance, but rather an exercise violating the express as well as implied stipulations, that is, necessity and requirement to make adequate and intelligible disclosure.” Read More
[Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Ltd. v. Haryana Mass Rapid Transport Corporation Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 269]
The three-judge Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, M.R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., directed Haryana government to deposit Rs. 1,925 crores within three months into an escrow account while hearing a dispute between the state's urban development authority, HSVP, and infrastructure company IL&FS on the Metro corridor in Gurugram. Read More
Did You Know? Justice Sanjiv Khanna recused himself from hearing Sajjan Kumar's appeal in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and he was the one who had dismissed Sajjan Kumar's bail in the Delhi High Court in 2015.6
[Laxmi Singh v. Rekha Singh, (2020) 6 SCC 812]
“The principle of secrecy of ballots is an important postulate of constitutional democracy whose aim is the achievement of this goal.”
The three-judge Bench of N.V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna* and Krishna Murari, JJ., held that the applicable statutory rules providing for voting on no-confidence motion by secret ballot have binding effect. Hence, re-voting or fresh voting, directed on the no-confidence vote in question, in the facts and circumstances of the case, as the same had not been done by secret ballot. Such re-voting, held, must be by way of secret ballot in accordance with the 1966 Rules.
The Court observed that “The primary principle and test to be applied by the courts is purity of election, that is, free and fair election. Secrecy of voting is an adjunct to the principle of purity of election.”
“Secrecy is not an absolute principle enshrined in law, but a requirement to subserve the larger public interest of purity of election. Secrecy cannot stand aloof, in isolation or in confrontation to the foundation of free and fair elections.”
[Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corporation, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1018]
The three-judge Bench comprising of N.V Ramana***, Sanjiv Khanna* and Krishna Murari, JJ., overruled the ratio in Himangni Enterprises v. Kamaljeet Singh Ahluwalia, (2017) 10 SCC 706 wherein it was held that landlord-tenant disputes governed by the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, are not arbitrable as this would be contrary to public policy.
“Landlord-tenant disputes are arbitrable as the Transfer of Property Act does not forbid or foreclose arbitration. However, landlord-tenant disputes covered and governed by rent control legislation would not be arbitrable when specific court or forum has been given exclusive jurisdiction to apply and decide special rights and obligations. Such rights and obligations can only be adjudicated and enforced by the specified court/forum, and not through arbitration.” Read More
[Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Private Limited v. Amruta Garg, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 88]
In the case relating to winding up of six schemes of the Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund, a division Bench of S.A. Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., has, rejecting the objections to poll results, upheld the validity of e-voting process for winding up of mutual fund schemes of Franklin Templeton, and opined that the disbursal of funds to unit holders will continue.
The Court held that, for the purpose of clause (c) to Regulation 18(15) of the Mutual Fund Regulations, consent of the unit holders would mean consent by majority of the unit holders who have participated in the poll, and not consent of majority of all the unit holders of the scheme. Read more
[Vikash Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 84]
“In their blooming and blossoming, we all bloom and blossom.”
In the present case, a citizen suffering from a writer's cramp knocked on the doors of the Apex Court as he was denied a scribe in the civil services examination and the 3-judge Bench comprising of Dr. D.Y Chandrachud*, Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., held that writer's cramp can be considered as a disability under Entry IV of the Schedule to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD Act 2016).
“To confine the facility of a scribe only to those who have Benchmark disabilities would be to deprive a class of persons of their statutorily recognized entitlements. To do so would be contrary to the plain terms as well as the object of the statute.” Read More
[Satya Deo v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 809]
While upholding conviction of the accused, the Division Bench of S.A. Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ., set aside the sentence of life imprisonment and held that the 2000 Act would be applicable in a pending proceeding instituted under the 1986 Act in any court or authority, if the person had not completed eighteen years of age as on 1st April 2001, when the 2000 Act came into force. Read More
[Central Public Information Officer v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1459]
“Judicial independence and accountability go hand in hand as accountability ensures and is a facet of judicial independence.”
The five-judge Constitution Bench of Ranjan Gogoi, (CJ) and N.V Ramana***, Dr. DY Chandrachud***, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna,* JJ., upholding the 2010 landmark judgment of the Delhi high court bringing the Chief Justice of India's office under Right to Information, held that the office of the Chief Justice of India comes under the definition of ‘public authority' in the Right to Information Act.
Justice Chandrachud is his separate but concurring opinion opined that “To use judicial independence as a plea to refuse accountability is fallacious. Independence is secured by accountability. Transparency and scrutiny are instruments to secure accountability.” Read More
[Roger Mathew v. South India Bank Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1456]
The five-judge Constitution Bench of Ranjan Gogoi*, (CJ) and N.V Ramana, Dr. DY Chandrachud***, Deepak Gupta*** and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., assessing the constitutional validity of Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 and held that Section 184 is valid and does not suffer from excessive delegation of legislative functions as there are adequate principles to guide framing of delegated legislation, which would include the binding dictums of this Court.
The Court struck down the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017, made under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017, for being contrary to the parent enactment and the principles envisaged in the Constitution i.e., being destructive of judicial independence. Read More
[Harbhajan Singh vs. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1546 ]
The three-judge Bench comprising of N.V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna* and Krishna Murari, JJ., upheld the constitutional validity of the Punjab Religious Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act, 1997. The Court held that the separate classification of properties of religious institutions for rent legislation will pass the test under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Read More
[Manoharan v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 951]
“There can be no doubt that today's judgment is in keeping with the legislature's realisation that such crimes are on the rise and must be dealt with severely.”
Considering the serious nature of the crime involving rape and murder of 2 children, the three-judge Bench comprising of R.F Nariman,* Surya Kant and Sanjiv Khanna,** JJ., with 2:1 verdict upheld the death sentence confirmed by the High Court.
Justice Khanna, while dissenting only on the issue of upholding death sentence confirmed by the High Court, held that the present case does not fall under the category of ‘rarest of rare' case but would fall within the special category of cases, where the appellant should be directed to suffer sentence for life. Read More
[Manoharan v. State, (2020) 5 SCC 782]
Dismissing the review petition filed by Appellant to review its 2:1 verdict awarding death sentence, the three-judge Bench of R.F Nariman, Surya Kant* and Sanjiv Khanna, * JJ., held that the dissent by one Judge is not a bar for upholding death penalty. The Court held that in the present case the appellant misused societal trust and the crime was not a crime of passion but a well-crafted crime. The Crime committed by the Appellant were grave and shock the conscience of this Court and society that we cannot commute the sentence and without any doubt it will fall under rarest of the rare category. Read More
[Shrimanth Balasaheb Patil v. Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1454]
The three-judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana*, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, JJ., upheld the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R Ramesh Kumar's decision disqualifying 17 MLAs but struck down the period of disqualification. The Court opined that the Speaker is not empowered to disqualify any member till the end of the term.
“There is a growing trend of the Speaker acting against the constitutional duty of being neutral. Further horse trading and corrupt practices associated with defection and change of loyalty or lure of office or wrong reasons have not abated. Thereby the citizens are denied stable governments. In these circumstances, there is need to consider strengthening certain aspects, so that such undemocratic practices are discouraged and checked.” Read More
[Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure Ltd. v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1005]
The 3-judge Bench consisting of R.F Nariman*, Sanjiv Khanna and Surya Kant, JJ., held the Amendment Act to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 made pursuant to a report prepared by the Insolvency Law Committee dated 26th March, 2018 does not infringe Articles 14, 19(1)(g) read with Article 19(6), or 300-A of the Constitution of India. Read More
[Ritesh Sinha v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 956 ]
“The law on the point should emanate from the Legislature and not from the Court”
The three-judge Bench of Ranjan Gogoi, * (CJ), Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., held that until explicit provisions are engrafted in the Code of Criminal Procedure by Parliament, a Judicial Magistrate must be conceded the power to order a person to give a sample of his voice for the purpose of investigation of a crime. Read More
Notable Judgments at High Court
[Kailash Gahlot v. Election Commission of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8125]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and Chander Shekhar, JJ., while deciding the validity of disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as ‘parliamentary secretaries' in the Delhi government by President Ram Nath Kovind, set aside the disqualification on the ground of failing to comply with the principles of natural justice by the Election Commission as the MLAs were not given an oral hearing or an opportunity of being heard.
[ATV Projects (India) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 12136]
The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna and Prathiba M. Singh*, JJ., while upholding the validity of Section 4(b) of the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Repeal Act, 2003, observed that,
“…once a law is repealed and a new legislation has been put in its place, it is not open for anyone to contend that it should be continued to be governed by the old enactment, except where actions under the existing laws had concluded. The applicability of the repealed legislation is only to the extent as provided in the Savings clause and nothing more.” Read More
[Wing Commander Arvind Kumar v. Directorate General, BSF, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 10880]
The Division Bench comprising of Sanjiv Khanna* and Navin Chawla, JJ., ruled in favour of an Air Force officer on deputation to the BSF Air Wing, enforcing the rule laid down in Group Captain Joe Emmanuel Stephen v. Directorate General of BSF, 2013 SCC OnLine Del 2472, that there cannot be two different pay scales, one applicable to deputationists and the other to the officer of the parent cadre/department when both are performing identical and same duties. Read More
[Sterling Agro Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, 2011 SCC OnLine Del 3162]
The five-judge Bench of Dipak Misra*, (CJ) and Vikramajit Sen, A.K. Sikri, Sanjiv Khanna and Manmohan, JJ., while deciding a petition challenging the validity of an order dated 9th July, 2010 passed by the Ministry of Finance dismissing its revision application, dealt with a very important question i.e. whether the High Court of Delhi can issue a writ against a person or authority not located within its territories, simply because the quasi-judicial tribunal which passed the impugned order is located within the territorial jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court.
The Court held that an order of the appellate authority constitutes a part of cause of action to make the writ petition maintainable in the High Court within whose jurisdiction the appellate authority is situated but, the same may not be the singular factor to compel the High Court to decide the matter on merits. The High Court may refuse to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction by invoking the doctrine of forum conveniens.
[Nand Kishore Garg v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), 2011 SCC OnLine Del 2366]
The division Bench of Dipak Misra*, (CJ) and Sanjiv Khanna, J., while disposing of a petition that demanded implementation of the tariff order passed by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), directed the Commission to proceed afresh by following the due procedure and do the needful.
The court observed that, “The commission under the 2003 Act is required to deal with the aspect of tariff determination with intellectual integrity, transparent functionalism and normative objectivity and not act in a manner by which its functioning invite doubt with regard to its credibility.”
[Rajinder Jaina v. Central Information Commission, 2009 SCC OnLine Del 3511]
Sanjiv Khanna*, J., while deciding the writ petition challenging the disclosure on grounds of infringement of the right to privacy, held that the information already existed in the public domain therefore no claims as to privacy could be made.
The court applied the ratio laid down in Raj Gopal v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (1994) 6 SCC 632, whereby the Court held that once a matter becomes an issue of public record, no privacy can be claimed for it.
[Union of India v. Central Information Commission, 2009 SCC OnLine Del 3876]
While dealing with yet another case related to refusal of the Central Information Commission to divulge information under the Right to Information Act, 2005 and involving an interpretation of S. 8(1)(i), Sanjiv Khanna*, J., held that the purpose of the proviso is only to clarify that while deciding the question of larger public interest i.e., the question of balance between ‘public interest in form of right to privacy' and ‘public interest in access to information' is to be balanced.
“The proviso is a guiding factor and not a substantive provision which overrides Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. It does not undo or rewrite Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act and does not itself create any new right.”