Justice Ajjikuttira Somaiah Bopanna, was born on 20-05-19591, and is most respected for ensuring transparency. Justice Bopanna is the son of the late A.N. Somaiah, a prominent politician belonging to the erstwhile Janata Party, who served as a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council a few decades ago.2
He got enrolled as an Advocate in 1984 and so far, gained experience of both the Bar and the Bench. As a judge of the Supreme Court, he has been a part of several landmark judgments of the Supreme Court of India. The blog here contains some interesting facts about Justice AS Bopanna, including some important cases as an advocate, the Judge of High Courts and Supreme Court.
Career as an Advocate (1984-2005)
Justice Bopanna started his legal career after being enrolled as an Advocate on 21-11-1984 with practice in Civil, Constitutional, Company, Service and Labour matters in the High Court as well as in the Civil and Labour Courts. He worked as the Legal Advisor to all Central Public Sector Undertakings and Addl. Central Govt. Standing Counsel from 1999 till 2005.3 Given below are some notable cases wherein, Justice AS Bopanna represented the parties as an Advocate:
G. Naravana Rao v. V.R. Nagmani, 1996 SCC OnLine Kar 397
Equipment v. G.M., Bangalore Telephones, 1996 SCC OnLine Kar 374
Managing Director, Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. v. Sundareshan, 2000 SCC OnLine Kar 346
Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai v. State of Karnataka, 2003 SCC OnLine Kar 559
Ansys Software Pvt. Ltd., In re, 2004 SCC OnLine Kar 562
Did you know? Justice Bopanna, the first judge from Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka to be elevated to the Supreme Court of India, is the ‘Coorg Person of the Year, 2019'.4
Justice AS Bopanna as the Judge of High Courts and the Supreme Court of India
Justice AS Bopanna was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court on 6-1-2006, became a permanent Judge on 1-3-2007, and was elevated as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court on 29-10-2018. Later, he was elevated as the Judge of Supreme Court of India and assumed charge on 24-5-2019.5 Given below are some notable decisions by Justice AS Bopanna as a Judge:
Important Judgments as the Judge of High Court of Karnataka (2006-2018)
Rahul Chandra Kone v. Jahanvi, 2017 SCC OnLine Kar 1700
The Single Judge Bench comprising of A.S. Bopanna, J., decided a set of writ petitions filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, wherein the petitioner husband; residing abroad, was granted permission to appear in the Court through Skype. The matter related to a marriage dispute between the petitioner-husband and the respondent-wife. The matter was initially filed before the Family Court by the wife against the husband. The petitioner-husband in the instant petition prayed to quash the order of the Family Court whereby the petitioner was directed to appear in person before the Court in Bangalore. The petitioner submitted that he was residing in the USA and had difficulties in traveling to India and appearing before the Family Court. Read more…
Tammanna v. Renuka, 2009 SCC OnLine Kar 123
The 7-Judges Bench comprising of P.D. Dinakaran CJ and S.R. Bannurmath, V. Gopala Gowda, V.G. Sabhahit, K.L. Manjunath, A.S. Bopanna and A.N. Venugopala Gowda, JJ. held that the power of the Single Judge under Section 8 of the Karnataka High Court Act is traceable and subject to the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 115 CPC. Therefore, since Section 8 of the Karnataka High Court Act remained unamended, the insertion of Section 9(xii) and 10(iv-a) of the Karnataka High Court Act as amended by Amendment Act 12 of 1973 to the Karnataka High Court Act by itself would not render Section 8 redundant in the statute book.
Sri Doddananjappa v. Union of India, 2014 SCC OnLine Kar 6416
In a Writ Petition under Article 226 of Constitution of India seeking direction to the respondents in a Land Acquisition matter to compute and pay/disburse the compensation, A.S. Bopanna J. directed the authorities to conduct verification to the extent of total land and the land acquired and said that “If the petitioner’s property was acquired but had not been included in the final notification, acquire the property in accordance with law and pay compensation to the petitioners”.
Did you know? Justice Bopanna made a remarkable contribution to prevent piling up of cases in the Courts. During his transfer from Karnataka High Court, the then Chief Justice appreciated Justice A.S. Bopanna's unparallel contribution to the Bengaluru Mediation Centre.6
Important Judgments as the Judge of High Court of Gauhati (2018-2019)
Union of India v. Bichitra Sarmah, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 3498
The Division Bench of A.S. Bopanna, C.J. and Arup Kumar Goswami, J. held that when the incident of firing had occurred accidentally and no other motive was alleged in the charge sheet, the disciplinary authority's decision to ultimately impose the punishment on the basis of the conclusion of the Enquiry Officer that such firing was an attempt to commit suicide, would not be justified.
Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. v. State of Assam, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 1023
The Division Bench of A.S. Bopanna, C.J. and Arup Kumar Goswami, J. held that even if the contention that the processing is to be done at the refinery and only thereafter VAT would be payable is taken note of, when as per the decision of the hon'ble Supreme Court, the same is also incidental to the purchase, irrespective of the fact as to whether the same is included in the invoice or not it would get attracted. The value of the VAT also would, therefore, get included in the import value for the purpose of processing the entry tax as it would fall under “other charges incidentally levied on the purchase of such goods” which is paid or payable.
Assam State Agriculture Marketing Board v. Tinsukia Trading Company (P.) Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Gau 1581
The appellants in the instant case were levying a cess on Mustard Oil imported from outside the State of Assam which was contended by the respondents to be unjustified and accordingly they sought for a refund of the amount collected by the respondent as cess. The Division Bench of A.S. Bopanna, CJ. and Arup Kumar Goswami, J. interpreted the meaning of ‘Agricultural Produce' of Assam Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1972. Read more…
Remarkable Judgments as the Judge of Supreme Court (2019-present)
Supreme Court directions on POSH Act
Aureliano Fernandes v. State of Goa, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 621
With the intent to fulfil the promise that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 [PoSH Act] holds out to working women all over the country, the bench of AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli*, JJ has issued extensive directions to ensure the implementation of the law after observing that, “However salutary this enactment may be, it will never succeed in providing dignity and respect that women deserve at the workplace unless and until there is strict adherence to the enforcement regime and a proactive approach by all the State and non-State actors.” Read more…
NEET for OCI Students
Anushka Rengunthwar v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 102
In a batch of petitions by Overseas Citizens of India (‘OCI') cardholders seeking parity with Non-Resident Indians (‘NRIs') and thereby Indian citizens for admission to National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (‘NEET') and like exams withdrawn through a notification, the Division Bench of A.S. Bopanna* and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ. held that notification dated 4-03-2021 shall have prospective effect and that the petitioners shall be entitled to rights and privileges conferred on them through earlier notifications. Read more…
Demonetization Case Judgment
Vivek Narayan Sharma (Demonetisation Case-5 J.) v. Union of India, (2023) 3 SCC 1
Six years after the country went through demonetisation, that was severely criticised for being poorly planned, unfair and unlawful, the Constitution Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer, B.R Gavai*, A.S. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramanian, B.V. Nagarathna**, JJ. has upheld the Centre's 2016 demonetisation scheme in a 4:1 majority and held that demonetisation was proportionate to the Union's stated objectives and was implemented in a reasonable manner. While Gavai, J has written the majority opinion for himself and SA Nazeer, A.S. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramanian, JJ, Nagarathna, J is the lone dissenter who has held that though demonetisation was well-intentioned and well thought of, the way it was carried out was improper and unlawful. Read more…
Formation of Opinion under SEBI Rules
Kavi Arora v. SEBI, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1217
In a special leave petition against the impugned judgment passed by the Bombay High Court, whereby, the Court dismissed the writ petition filed by the petitioner to sought directions against Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to forthwith furnish the documents relied upon by them to issue Show Cause Notice to the petitioner, the division bench of Indira Banerjee* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ. has observed that there was no procedural irregularity, at least till the stage of notice fixing a date of hearing and the High Court rightly did not interfere with the proceedings at the stage of the Show Cause Notice, thus, there is no infirmity in the impugned judgment of the High Court of dismissing the writ petition. Read more…
Future Group and Amazon Case
Future Coupons (P) Ltd. v. Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, (2022) 6 SCC 121
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. Read more…
Supreme Court explained: ‘What is dowry demand?'
State of M.P. v. Jogendra, (2022) 5 SCC 401
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 found the said observation erroneous and 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. Read more…
OBC Reservation in NEET
Neil Aurelio Nunes (OBC Reservation) v. Union of India, (2022) 4 SCC 1
In a detailed judgment, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, JJ has upheld the Constitutional validity of the reservation for OBC candidates in the AIQ seats for PG and UG medical and dental courses and noticed that while an open competitive exam may ensure formal equality where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate, however, widespread inequalities in the availability of and access to educational facilities will result in the deprivation of certain classes of people who would be unable to effectively compete in such a system. Read more…
TATA vs Mistry Case
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. v. Cyrus Investments (P) Ltd., (2021) 9 SCC 449
In a long-awaited verdict in the Tata-Mistry Row, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has upheld the removal of Cyrus Mistry as Chairman by the Tata Sons and has also answered all questions in favour of Tata Sons. The Court said that NCLAT has, by reinstating Mistry without any pleading or prayer, “has forced upon the appellant an Executive Chairman, who now is unable to support his own reinstatement.” The Court said, “The relief of reinstatement granted by the Tribunal, was too big a pill even for the complainant companies, and perhaps Cyrus Mistry, to swallow.” Read more…
Attorney General for India v. Satish, (2021) 4 SCC 712
The 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has stayed the controversial Bombay High Court judgment wherein the High Court had acquitted the accused under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, 2012 on the ground that the accused had no sexual intent in committing the offence under POCSO Act because there was no direct physical contact, i.e., skin to skin. The said order came after Attorney General for India K. K. Venugopal brought to the Court's notice that the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has passed a judgment dated 19.01.2021 is likely to set “a dangerous precedent”. Read more…
Plea by Nirbhaya Case Convicts
Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 2 SCC 803
Putting the last nail in the coffin for the Nirbhaya death row convicts who were hanged this morning, the 3-judge bench of R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna, JJ dismissed the plea file by Pawan Kumar Gupta challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President on the ground that his plea of juvenility had not been finally determined and this aspect was not kept in view by the President of India while rejecting his mercy plea. Read more…
Assault by Kirpan
Sahib Singh v. State of Punjab, (2019) 12 SCC 637
In a matter of grievous hurt under Section 326 of Penal Code, 1860 for assault by several accused, wherein, the appellant was specifically named by the eyewitnesses having assaulted the deceased with kirpan, the Bench of R. Banumathi and A.S. Bopanna, JJ. refused to interfere with and affirmed the conviction.
2. Coorg News <www.coorgnews.in/general-news/supreme-court-judge-justice-bopanna-is-coorg-person-of-the-year-2019> Last accessed on 17-5-2023.
4. Coorg News <www.coorgnews.in/general-news/supreme-court-judge-justice-bopanna-is-coorg-person-of-the-year-2019> Last accessed on 17-5-2023.
6. The Indian Express <www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2018/oct/27/karnataka-high-court-bids-adieu-to-justice-a-s-bopanna-1890703.html> Last accessed on 17-5-20.